Library Happenings

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For the Birds by KellyAnne Terry

This summer I took up bird watching so I could learn to identify the birds in my yard. Lewistown is a perfect place to see many of the species that roam the northern plains and Rocky Mountain regions. I also did some instate traveling and saw a few birds that might not come to Central Montana.

It all started with a group of cedar waxwings that swooped in one morning and settled for breakfast on my caragana bushes. Apparently, if you see one cedar waxwing you will see a dozen. I counted 14 that morning. Other regulars to my yard were robins, northern flickers, mourning doves, starlings, common grackle, white-crowned sparrow, red-winged blackbird, song sparrow, house sparrow and chickadees. I saw several predatory birds closer to the Missouri River, including a pair of bald eagles, a golden eagle, a red-tailed hawk, an osprey and a merlin. I saw that tiny little flyer, the broad-tailed hummingbird, near a cabin by Helena. Their wings beat so fast they make a buzzing sound like a bee.

Once of my favorite birds to watch is the pelican. They have such serious faces but also seem quite playful. They fly up the Missouri River so they can float down the river at their leisure scanning for fish below. According to the library book, “Birds: Myth, Lore and Legend” by Rachel Warren Chadd, the pelican is considered a protector of the afterlife and is thought to provide safe passage to the underworld. This was largely believed by the ancient Egyptians, and they also thought the bird scooped up evil elements in the Nile River. Pelicans have a long relationship with humans, and are seen on emblems and family crests as a powerful symbol of self-sacrifice and nobility.

The Library has many books involving birds, whether in the literal or metaphorical sense. Reading Kyo Maclear’s memoir helped me in my bird-watching venture: “Birds, Art, Life: A Year of Observation.” Maclear lives in Toronto and goes through a year of urban bird watching alongside a musician friend. The birds inspired her to start drawing again, and her insights into their world touch the edges of her own.

Jennifer Ackerman explores the intelligence of birds in her bestseller “The Genius of Birds,” and there are multiple field guides to get you started on Central Montana bird identification.

Moving beyond actual birds though, you can always read one of the many fiction books based around our winged friends. A brief list would be “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “The Thorn Birds” by Colleen McCullough, “The Magpie Murders” by Anthony Horowitz, “The Pelican Brief” by John Grisham, and the ever-popular “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey.

One last thought on birds: A Chinese proverb says, “A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”


New nonfiction

“Birds, Art, Life: A Year of Observation” by Kyo Maclear; “A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order” by Richard Haass; “American Fire: Love, Arson and Life in a Vanishing Land” by Monica Hesse; “The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir” by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich; “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” by Dan Egan; and “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson.


No more solar eclipse glasses

The Library is all out of the free solar eclipse glasses provided by the State Library.



 The Techmobile returns to the library, offering a free tech clinic from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., today, Aug. 16. Walk-ins are welcome and all ages are encouraged. Learn new skills or explore cool technology. The Techmobile is brought to Lewistown by Chanda Phelan Ph.D. candidate, human-computer interaction, University of Michigan.


Story Time

Story Time will resume on Friday, Aug. 25 at 10:30 a.m.


Library hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday – Friday and Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m. We are closed Sunday and Monday. Contact us by phone at 538-5212, or e-mail “Like” us on Facebook to keep current on our happenings. Our card catalog may be viewed on our webpage,, as well as the Montana Memory Project and Montana Library2Go to access our downloadable audio books and eBooks.


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