Florence Merriam Bailey -- a Pioneering Nature Activist


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Now in the summer of 2020 I declared my love of birds with my Who's in the Backyard? series. I am a bit obsessed with female cardinals. Today's picture book which was just released is about another woman who loved birds. Her name is Florence Merriam Bailey and she was a pioneering nature activist who fought to protect the birds. Now you can share her story with 5- to 8-year-olds with She Heard the Birds: The Story of Florence Merriam Bailey by Andrea D'Aquino. 

From the Publisher:

Meet Florence Merriam Bailey, a pioneering birder and activist who changed the way we study birds forever, as told through the evocative collage style of artist Andrea D'Aquino.

As a young girl, Florence Merriam Bailey fell in love with the outdoors, especially birds, whose songs and flight captivated her. She listened, waited, and watched to better understand her feathered friends, and wrote many books, including one of the first field guides to American birds. Her work ultimately led to better protection for birds and to the scientific study of birds in nature instead of in a lab. She Heard the Birds, the latest book from A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa author Andrea D'Aquino, brings to life the story of a woman ahead of her time. D'Aquino's striking full-page collages make each page a delight to read.

From Me:

Now I always love learning about women who studied math and science. In this case Florence studied birds and she studied them in nature and not in a laboratory like many of the scientists of her time. I love how the story is told from the view of Florence's love of the birds. 

I love that both Florence and her mother studied science during a time that women did not study science. I also love how Florence saw the hats that had feathers and or birds on them and thought they were awful. She realized she had to do something to help birds. 

I love how she realized and taught people to observe birds in nature rather than kill them or capture them. She used a camera, observation notebook, pencils and binoculars for her tools. She taught people the beauty of birds and the world around us. She taught people these things and helped protect the birds. Did you know it is illegal to own most bird feathers? This law is meant to protect the birds from being killed for their feathers. (Source)

I hope you will check out this book and learn about Florence and then gather your kids, binoculars, camera, nature journals and pencils and get out there and do some of your own research of birds!