Friday, January 1, 2016

Burrows, Nests & Lairs: A Book Review

Burrows, Nests & Lairs: Animal Architects by Lark Books is a neat way to see how animals use natural elements around them to build! I've done presentations on Animal Homes in the past and this brings much of the good information from the presentation in one place for an intermediate reader. The book mentions that animals are built for survival and don't need "homes" like we as humans do; however, in order to raise their young or stay safe from predation or weather, animals will build structures to enhance survival. Animals are born with the instinct to build and the tools to do it. Made from sand, mud, grasses, and sticks, animals can make amazing structures! 

I loved reading how the badger decorates its home! While rare, we have badgers in our area. Since we don't see them often, it's great to learn about them. 

Caddis Flies are also a unique creature. I learned about them in Hoosier Riverwatch Training. It's always neat to see the structures they create in the water, depending on the substrate they find. I have heard of them being put in semiprecious jewels and being turned into jewelry.

The book looks at animal architects, water lodges, excavators, small nests, fantastic ness, bricklayers and woodworkers, weaver and tailors, multi-story developers, termite architects, honeycomb builders, and coral reefs. While I usually like to concentrate on animals we find in our area, there are enough animals near us to make it worth my while. Additional animals from other areas show the WOW factor of what animals can truly build! One slight criticism would be that the authors are very specific with the names of the animals at times, but then generic (woodpecker--what kind? See my list of local woodpeckers at the link!) at other times. I would mind the more specific animal name rather than the generic category. 

A few features I like about the book: a glossary, index, hand drawn illustrations, table of contents, bite sized pieces of information. 

I'm working on a nature program about nature inspired inventions for later this year. I think this will be a great book for building inspiration! Here are a few other books that look promising as well in regards to animal builders (affiliate links):

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