See the rules for Name That Bird here.

Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering!
Author: Ruth Spiro
Illustrator: Irene Chan

One of the best books of 2016, Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering! teaches little babies about the force that help birds, airplanes, and rocket ships fly. This is one of the only board books Mabel will let me read to her that doesn’t have flaps to lift or fuzzy kitten butts to pet, so I know it’s good.

And the protagonist of the book (along with a flight-obsessed toddler) is this beautiful birdie:


If we assume that the toddler is about average size, this bird appears to be between 5 – 6 inches high. Note the uniform greenish-blue feathers with yellow and white streaks on the breast, back and wings, and the orange-yellow cone-shaped beak of a grain eater. It also has a relatively short tail. All in all, cute bird!

The Illustrator, Irene Chan, was born in Hong Kong, but lives in Atlanta. So, while this bird could logistically be a native of either, I’ll start state side to make things a little easier for myself.

The blue feathers and cone shaped beak make me suspect a male indigo bunting or a blue grosbeak, but of course, our bird is referred to as “she,” and the females of those species are brown.

Male Blue Grosbeak. Photo by Brian E Small

The next obvious guess is an Eastern Bluebird, but I personally think that ruddy and white chest is so iconic and our bird doesn’t have one. A Mountain Bluebird would be next obvi choice, but they don’t go near Georgia. Plus, no greenish tint.

Time to think outside the nest.

Let’s consider the endangered Cerulean Warbler, a very sweet wood warbler who lives high in the trees.

Cerulean_Warbler_b57-5-072_l Glenn Barley
Photo by Glenn Barley/

But the body proportions are a little off, the beak is a longer insect-eating type, and at just a bit over 4 inches, she’s a bit small to be our bird. Plus, the Cerulean Warbler is a uncommon migrant in Georgia.

Oriental Dollarbird is another intriguing option – native of Hong Kong, blue/green plumage, orange beak.

dollarbird_ift7707Iftiaque Hussain
Photo by Iftiaque Hussain/

Strikes against? This bird has attitude– which I love – but doesn’t quite fit with the kind and gentle look of our bird. Plus, at 11 inches, this species is way too tall.

And here is the real outsider: The Northern Parula:

parula_cleber Cleber Ferreira Allabout birds
Photo by Cleber Ferreira/

Phaea, you say, that bird isn’t blue. Well, I say back, it’s a LITTLE blue. Blue-grey on the hood. Plus, a yellow breast, white wing bars & eye rings AND a green back, covering all the colors in the illustration. This bird summers in Georgia, and has a yellow beak, albeit an insect-eating type. At only 4.7 inches max, she’s on the small end BUT maybe we’re dealing with a small toddler?

So…what will we Name the Bird from Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering!??


A few fun facts about the Northern Parula, via the Merlin Bird ID app.

  • One of the smallest warblers
  • Found in wooded areas
  • Winters in Mexico
  • Loves nesting in Spanish moss
  • Loud song that sound like a zipper!

Check back soon for more rounds of Name that Bird! And if you have a book suggestion for me, let me know in the comments.