Even an Ostrich Needs a NestEven an Ostrich Needs a Nest

What does a bird need to build a nest? Murres don’t need anything at all. They simply lay their eggs right on the edges of cliffs. A Hammerkop needs sticks – about six thousand – plus feathers, snakeskins, and trash for decoration. From the Carmine Bee-eater that laboriously digs an eight-foot-long tunnel to the carefree cuckoo that leaves her eggs in the nests of strangers, every species finds a unique place to raise their young in this intriguing look at nests.

Publication date: Spring 2009

Winner-NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) Outstanding Science Trade Book, 2010

What the press had to say:

“ From emperor penguins that protect their eggs with their belly fat to the elaborate bowerbirds that spend months creating a mating spot, this intriguing book describes and illustrates how creative and exacting birds can be when building an abode…What’s most fascinating is the amazing diversity represented, including some very clever birds that literally sew, steal, or decorate their nests, as well as those whose structures are big enough to hold a human. Done in watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and ink, the illustrations are simple and appealing. Packed with visual appeal and interesting information, this book is well worth sharing.” – School Library Journal

“From the North American bald eagle to the Australian brush-turkey, the nesting habits of 40 different birds are briefly explored. Kelly’s conversational style conveys the breadth of these often-unusual habitats, noting the nests’ various materials and the methods used to support baby birds. Engaging facts support the broad subject matter: The sociable weaver, for instance, may live with more than 200 others in a nest that can last as long as 100 years. The industrious layout of this eclectic collection encourages browsing.”– Booklist


Irene Kelly’s Even an Ostrich Needs a Nest looks at a global array of birds, big and small, and describes gigantic nests made from layered sticks and tiny cup-shaped homes lined with spider silk and lichen. Kelly’s engaging artwork—in pen and ink, watercolor, gouache, and acrylic—depicts the diversity of materials and construction of a variety of nests. Whether on the forest floor, on mud flats, or high in treetops or bridges, these amazingly and strong structures provide protection and a safe haven for the next generation of birds to grow and mature.”– School Library Journal, Curriculum Connections

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