This project started as a gift for a soon-to-be six-year-old. Michael Livingston and I couldn’t find a book that would help our young, curious friend learn the names of the birds she sees around Melbourne. So we made our own!
We’ve called it Melbirds. Michael picked 63 of the most easy-to-find bird species around Melbourne and devoted a page to each one – their common name, size, a colour photo he’s taken himself, and a few sentences about their appearance and behaviour. We’ve wrapped it up with a few extra resources and a blank bird list to start filling out at the back.
Melbirds runs to 84 printed pages and, of course, it’s not intended to be read cover to cover. Instead, we expect that kids and the people who read to them will flick through and focus on whatever catches their eye. We’ve divided the species into sections that we hope will help with IDing new birds.
Michael and I have no training in birding, communicating with kids, or designing books. Leave us a comment if what we’ve made has been useful for you, and let us know what improvements us amateurs could feasibly make to it. Five months after the original release, we’ve updated the book with a 64th species plus native/introduced symbols for all species.