A cacophony of chirps, coos and cheeps sung by the colorful birds that visit our backyard are a welcome source of music and comfort during these days of lockdown.
Unfettered from the usual din of urban intrusion, these amazing, mysterious little creatures go flitting and splashing about their daily tasks with the inherent freedoms we now yearn for.
We can’t fly, but we can observe, actively learn and now color illustrations of many of nature’s most beguiling water-loving birds.
In a new, handsome publication titled “The Aquatic Birds Coloring Book,” local authors Ellyn Elson and partner Lawrence (Larry) M. Elson have brought to life an innovative way to discover these species’ anatomies, physiologies, habitats, characteristics and mating rituals, all while creating personal works of art
“I have always loved birds and especially aquatic birds and wanted to try my hand in developing a book,” Ellyn said.
With Larry’s input and guidance, the Elson’s spent five years researching and gathering information, speaking to birders, visiting estuaries and meeting with ornithologists to make the 136-page paperback book unique and informative. It is indeed just that according to David Yarnold, CEO and President of the National Audubon Society.
“Water-loving birds, like ducks, geese, herons and sandpipers have fascinated us for centuries,” said Yarnold. “This book guides you to notice the details of their feathers and unique physical adaptations to life in, and near the water, through the medium of a coloring book. For those who learn by doing rather than by reading, this is a great way to deepen your knowledge of these wonderful birds while relaxing with your colored pencils.”
The Elson’s latest tome is the 10th science-based coloring book created by Coloring Concepts, their Napa-based company. The first and most popular to-date, “The Anatomy Coloring Book,” is now in its fourth edition, available in 13 different languages and has sold over five million copies domestically.
Next year, the Elson’s will produce their first try at a humanities coloring book, to be followed by “The Art History Coloring Book” and then followed by “The Reptiles Coloring Book”! For more information on all the books and to sign up for the mailing list, visit coloringconcepts.com.
“The Aquatic Birds Coloring Book,” appropriate for ages 5 to 95, couldn’t be more timely and inspirational as bird watching has surged during the pandemic. Seed stores and birdhouse builders are overwhelmed with orders. It’s an easy hobby to start whether you are birding from your windows, backyard or craving the great outdoors where social distancing is easy to achieve.
“Napa and Solano Counties are blessed with many aquatic birds residing in and visiting the area,” said Mark Stephenson, President of the Napa-Solano Audubon Society. “Several of the best spots are: the Huichica Creek Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area covering over 14,000 acres; Milton Road’s Pond 8, and Lake Hennessey and Berryessa in Napa; American Canyon Wetlands and Green Island Wildlife Unit in American Canyon; and Lagoon Valley Park and Lake Solano in Solano County. At these locations there are many species of ducks, shorebirds, egrets and herons.” For more information, visit napasolanoaudubon.com.
“’The Aquatic Birds Coloring Book’ is designed for everyone who loves nature and wants to take the time to understand the important bond between ourselves and the world around us,” wrote the Elson’s in the book’s dedication.