One Dark Bird by Liz Garton Scanlon and Frann Preston-Gannon


Can you guess what a murmuration is? The image above might give you a hint. A murmuration occurs when starlings fly together and change direction in a fluid movement. Their flight pattern looks like a choreographed dance that fills the sky with swarming spirals.

One Dark Bird describes a murmuration in a fascinating way. The story begins as a counting book with one starling in a tree. The bird takes flight, and soon other starlings join him. Each bird is tallied as it enters the group. The counting pauses when hundreds of birds join the first group of ten. A hawk appears, and the birds dive and swerve to escape danger. Lyrical text and gorgeous illustrations sweep the reader into an acrobatic whirl. A countdown commences when danger is averted and the group disperses. The story ends as it begins with one starling in a tree.

A flock of birds swirl together in the sky above a cityscape in this double page spread of the book "One Dark Bird".

Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Inquire/Think I.A.2 Learners display curiosity and initiative by recalling prior and background knowledge as context for new meaning.

A murmuration is a phenomena that will fascinate learners. Share One Dark Bird with a classroom educator. Collaborate on a lesson that supports the Next Generation Science Standards.

If you like this lesson idea that connects with the Next Generation Science Standards, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes a standards chart that connects lessons with nationals standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included. 

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