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Monday, June 8, 2015

The birds and the bees... and butterflies, bats, and more

I can’t imagine a summer picnic without watermelon. And strawberries. Both of these depend on pollinators – bees and other animals that carry pollen from one plant to another. Without bees our burgers would be tomato-less, our shortcakes strawberry-free, our deli sandwich served without pickles.

Honey bees pollinate a lot of our food. But they aren’t the only ones. Hundreds of wild bees – about 475 in New York alone – are busy buzzing from blossom to blossom. Other animals carry pollen from plant to plant, too: butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles, moths, flies.

Pollinators are so important that there is an entire week devoted to them: National Pollinator Week. Head outside and get to know our pollinators better. Check out the Science Explore Bag and take a closer look at the insects visiting flowers in your yard or hayfield.

Or check out some of these books about pollinators:

by Karen Hartley and Chris Macro.
This picture book introduces young children to the physical characteristics, diet, life cycle, predators, habitat, and lifespan of bees.

Animals that eat nectar and honey
by Alice L. Hopf
This is a longer book that includes a diversity of nectar-eating animals: ants, flies, bats, tropical sunbirds, honey possums, and lemurs. It explains their role in the pollination of flowering plants.

by Mary Ling
This is part of the "see how they grow" series. There are other books about Monarch butterflies and some field guides with lots of photos of bees and butterflies. 

About hummingbirds : a guide for children
by Cathryn and John Sill 
Everything you wanted to know about hummingbirds and maybe some cool stuff you didn't know you wanted to know.

Bats : biggest! littlest! 
by Sandra Markle    
This book explores the diverse world of bats, from the giant flying fox to the tiny bumblebee bat.