Everyone enjoys hummingbirds and we enjoy books about them. Many years ago, I found a small book titled "Hummingbirds." It was written for children but the beautiful illustrations, as well as the interesting facts, attracted me. Hummingbirds of every size and description were sprinkled through its pages and it was a pleasure just to look at the pictures.
When a package arrived in the mail several days ago, I was reminded of this book. It was another little book about hummingbirds. “The Amazing Hummingbird Story of ‘Red’ Rufous” is also beautifully illustrated. It too was written for children but adults will enjoy looking at the pictures and reading the information contained in the story.
“Red Rufous” differs from my first book about hummingbirds in an important way. Red was hatched and raised in the Northwest. This local book is a true story about the hummingbirds we know. Red’s life began on Whidbey Island and it just so happens that his mother chose to build her nest near the home of Craig and Joy Johnson. The Johnsons are known to many in the Northwest not only for their love of birds, but for their skills.
Craig is a talented photographer, painter and graphic artist. Joy is a writer and they have combined their skills to produce several photo books on birds. Published in 2007, “Our Puget Sound Birds & Habitat” is one of their most popular ones. Now they have created a special children’s book about hummingbirds. A portion of their website is devoted to the “Red Rufous Book Section.” Children (and adults) whose interest in hummingbirds is encouraged by the book can visit the site for more information and some great photographs.
Readers of the book will follow Red as he grows up on Whidbey and then makes the long migration journey to Mexico - and back again to Whidbey. This story about one particular hummingbird is sprinkled with adventures and interesting hummingbird facts. The book retails for $9.95 and would make a wonderful holiday gift. It is being distributed through several local stores and can also be ordered direct.
The website portion created for Red Rufous is beautiful and a treat for anyone who visits it. It has animation and educational links with graphics that Craig created. He will be updating it periodically so that it remains interesting for repeat visitors. The photos on this site are a testament to the Craig’s talent as a photographer. From day one to the day the hummingbirds fledged, the amazing photos almost let you crawl into the nest with the baby hummers. A skilled bird photographer, Craig accomplished the photographing of the nest without disturbing the birds. He explains how this was done on the website.
Not many websites make my “favorites” list but this one has. If I need to take a break, clear my head or just treat myself, I’m going to revisit “Red.” When you can have a hummingbird chirping and scolding as its gossamer wings beat against your computer screen, that’s pretty special. This is a fun site.
To order “Red Rufous” on the Web, go to www. pugetsoundbackyardbirds.com. You can also get a copy by writing: Craig and Joy Johnson, 575 Dolphin Drive, Freeland, WA 98249. Created for young children, this book will fascinate readers of any age. Make sure you visit Red on the Web.
Write to Joan Carson, PO Box 217, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.