My Best Nest: A Purple Martin Story
Author and contributors
Purple Martin NestlingsEnemy #1: StarlingEnemy #2: House SparrowMartin HooligansFeeding time!Bird features"My Best Nest," the bookA tale of beginningsBibliographyUseful linksActivities for kidsStudent ExercisesFor librariansAuthor and contributorsBuy the book
Whooping crane baby
Copyright Rebecca Dellinger 2008
A juvenile male Whooping Crane that the author / illustrator helped rear at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The crane doesn't realize there's a person inside that costume!

The story of what inspired the book.


Author and Illustrator:

Ree Dellinger earned a master's degree in biology studying Blue Jays and is a former science teacher. She has worked as an aviculturist and zoo registrar. As an aviculturist, she helped rear a diminutive Collared Sunbird on a diet of house spiders and fruit flies. Dressed in a crane costume she was a parent to magnificent Whooping Cranes and Siberian Cranes.

The book's illustrations were done as watercolors. The author is a dry-brush watercolorist and china painter. The author recommends "Painting Watercolor Portraits that Glow", by Jan Kunz.


Joe Dellinger, the brother of the author, is a geophysicist and amateur astronomer; asteroid 2002 PM165 is named in his honor. For wildlife photography he uses a 35mm camera mounted at prime focus on an Astrophysics "Traveler" astronomical telescope. Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 were taken by Joe.

James R. Hill III earned a master's degree in ecology studying Barn Swallows. He is the founder and executive director emeritus of the Purple Martin Conservation Association and the former editor of the "Purple Martin Update." He has traveled to Brazil four times to study Purple Martins in their winter range. Figures 1 and 7 were taken by James.