A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Loads of information about ospreys and wildlife rescue missions, in which biologists' interventions help save wild birds. Introduces lots of scientific vocabulary in the text, including "talons," "fledge," "imprinted," "ecosystem," "migration." Glossary of "STEM Vocabulary" (60 terms in all) at back of book. Also in back matter are educational questions for this and the co-authors' previous book, Beauty and the Beak; suggestions of how you can help; links to live osprey webcams; and resources for doing more research about wildlife rescue and protection.
Sometimes you have to act fast to save lives. "Ospreys are awesome powerful birds," writes raptor biologist Jane Veltkamp. "Watching and protecting help ensure bird species' survival in the face of threats like pollution, habitat destruction, and climate change."
Positive Role Models
Biologists Jack and Janie show how science, expertise, and caring can save birds in the wild. The chicks' parents work as a team: The father osprey catches fish and brings it back to the nest, where the mother osprey tears off pieces of fish with her beak and feeds them to her babies, then uses her big wings to shade them from the sun.
Scientists communicate all over the world about species' migrations. Raptor biologist Jane Veltkamp, a leader in an unconventional field of science, tracks rescued osprey chicks' early flights by putting a band on their leg and painting bits of color on their wings. Then she hears from "wildlife watchers" in Central America, thousands of miles away, who spot the birds there months later.
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Violence & Scariness
The ospreys' tree gets struck by lightning, crashes, their nest falls, and the chicks fall out on the forest floor and their parents can't find them and fly away forever. (The only thing shown is a photo of lightning in the sky, followed on the facing page by a photo of a rainbow in blue sky.) But a wildlife biologist named Jack finds them and takes them to a wildlife center. Mention of an osprey being tangled in a fishing line or a plastic bag. Caring for ospreys "takes special training and experience," says raptor biologist Janie, "including how to stay safe when an osprey that needs help tries to defend itself with its sharp talons or twisting bite."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Swoop and Soar: How Science Rescued Two Osprey Orphans and Found Them a New Family in the Wild is by science writer Deborah Lee Rose and raptor biologist Jane Veltkamp, co-authors of Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle. As in their previous book, they clearly explain in a kid-friendly way the amazing, life-saving work of biologists. Along the way, they give young readers tons of information about this particular bird species: what it eats, how it grows, how parents nurture their young, and what dangers it faces from humans. Vivid photography helps kids understand what's happening. No violence is shown, but the text mentions the chicks falling out of their nest onto the forest floor in a storm and their parents not finding them and flying off. And it's a race against time for the scientists to get the rescued chicks into the nest of two potential osprey foster parents within three days -- before they too fly away.
Is It Any Good?
This riveting wildlife rescue story will keep kids engaged as they follow each perilous step toward the osprey chicks' survival. And large, clear color photos help readers grasp every new development. The first half of Swoop and Soar: How Science Rescued Two Osprey Orphans and Found Them a New Family in the Wild shows how a wildlife biologist rescues the two osprey chicks -- called Swoop and Soar in the story -- and how a raptor biologist finds them foster parents. The second half lays out loads of facts about ospreys: how they grow, how they learn to fly, what they eat, how they catch their food, how they use their beaks and talons, what they need to do to stay safe, and what humans can do to help protect them and other wildlife. It's an inspiring story of science in action that will help make readers more keenly aware of the need to protect wildlife, and might even inspire them to consider a career in science. Great for classroom or home reading.
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