Book Adventures

The Beasts Come Out at Night--All about Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal animals are active at night. When the sun goes down they wake and head out to find food and mates. Berkeley is home to many different nocturnal animals. Some help keep rodent populations low (thank you owls!). Some help keep insect populations low (thank you bats!). Nocturnal animals are all around us, learn more about these fascinating night time neighbors!

Free Family Event-- Saturday, November 5, 3:30-5pm

Join us on the 4th Floor of the Central Library as we explore the many fascinating ways that animals live their lives at night.

  • Naturalist Anthony from the Tilden Nature Education Center will dissect owl pellets.  See just what those night flyers have been snacking on.
  • 4-4:30pm Viewing party--Watch a live Zoom presentation with Lindsay Wildlife's resident owls. Watch the video of the November 5 presentation featuring live owls here! 
  • See the visiting exhibits all about nocturnal animals on loan from the Tilden Nature Education Center, on view October 20-November 15.

Bubo with pumpkin-Lindsay Wildlife

Find books about nocturnal animals here!

Coloring pages to print: Great Horned Owl, Owl Food Web (from Raptors are the Solution), Nocturnal Animals


Videos selected by librarians:

Falcons Return to the Library!

That's right, we are focusing in again on our neighbors who live in the Campanile bell tower at UC Berkeley, the Cal peregrine falcons. Peregrine falcons are the fastest creatures on earth with the capacity to dive through the air at speeds over 200 miles per hour! Berkeley is lucky to have several families of these fast, beautiful birds of prey make their home here.

Cal Falcon Family zoom visit--Saturday, May 21, 3:30-4:15 pm. Meet ornithologists (bird scientists), Lynn Schofield and Sean Peterson of the Cal Campanile falcon webcam for an exciting and informative Zoom visit.

We will learn how to watch the birds and other creatures around us with and without binoculars! And we will hear about the resident falcons who live in UC-Berkeley's campanile bell tower. Register for this free zoom program here!

You can see them in action--incubating eggs, snacking on pigeons, and "loafing" (the bird version of kicking back and relaxing) with the Cal Falcons webcams!

Find a printable falcon craft here!        Falcon craft laid out on table and hung in window

More nest cams:

What are birds of prey? Falcons, hawks, eagles, osprey, and condors are birds of prey. That means that they hunt other animals for food.  Birds of prey, also called raptors, usually have sharp, curved beaks and claws. Find out more about birds of prey with Britannica Library for Children, use you library card to log in.

  • Ospreys plunge feet first into water to catch the fish they eat.
  • Bald eagles have white feathers on their head and are not actually bald.
  • Peregrine falcons like to build their nests in high places like cliffs, campanile towers, and the roof of city halls.
  • Hawks live on all continents except Antarctica. They mainly eat rodents but will eat smaller birds, amphibians, and reptiles including rattle snakes!
  • The California condor is one of the world's largest and rarest birds. Female California condors lay one egg every other year.

-From Britannica Library for Children


Amphiba Phest

Did you know that amphibians live in Berkeley?    

Yes, frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders make their home in creeks, vernal pools, and just about any damp nook or cranny.

  • But what makes an amphibian an amphibian?
  • How can you tell a toad apart from a frog or a newt from a salamander?
  • And what’s the story with South Park Drive in the Berkeley hills? What happens there on rainy nights during the winter?

According to the Merriam-Webster's Elementary Dictionary, an amphibian is "any of a group of cold-blooded vertebrate animals (as frogs and toads) that have gills and live in water as larvae but breathe air as adults." But amphibians are so much more. Find out about the amphibians next door and learn how to be good neighbors to our moisture-loving friends.CA Tiger Salamander

On Saturday, November 6, 2021, Megan Andrews, a naturalist from Lindsay Wildlife joined the Berkeley Public Library for a Zoom event about the amphibians all around us. We heard fun amphibian facts, learned how to help our amphibian neighbors, and met Sal and Freckles, two California tiger salamanders. Recommended for age 3 and up. (Flyer)

Missed the Zoom Event on November 6? Watch the recording here

Lindsay LogoAmphiba Phest Book Adventures Resources:

Find books, videos, and more here.

Printable book list here.

National Geographic Kids website-Amphibians

Videos about Amphibians

"From Egg to Frog" -Print, fold, and color your own booklet and learn about the lifecycle of frogs (folding instructions here).

Print a Coloring Page

Frog Crown


Print and make your own FROG or TOAD crown (use cardstock if possible).


What is a “watershed” and why is it important to amphibians and you?
A watershed is the entire area of land that drains into a particular channel or water body. The creeks of the East Bay hills help form our watershed that flows into the bay. Amphibians depend on a healthy watershed because they need to spend much of their lives in water. Most species of amphibians lay their eggs and grow into adults in water. Learn more about the watershed where you live.

  • Can you find your home, school, or public library with the watershed map provided by the Oakland Museum of California?
  • Are there creeks that run nearby?

Maps of creeks and watershed for Berkeley, Oakland, and Albany.
Maps of creeks and watershed for Richmond and its neighbors.
More maps from the Oakland Museum of California’s Creek Mapping Project

Our Resident Raptors

What are raptors and how can we be good neighbors to them?falcon
Raptors live all around us in the East Bay.

Raptors have three characteristics that set them apart from all other birds:
• Excellent eyesight
• Strong grasping feet with sharp talons (claws) used to seize prey
• A hooked beak used to kill and rip apart prey (they eat only meat)
Several species of bird are considered raptors. Eagles, hawks, kites, falcons and owls are all considered raptors. Vultures and condors are often considered raptors as well, though they eat carrion (dead animals).         

Raptors are beautiful, strong, and wild.
Find out more with books, videos and a special event, all from Berkeley Public Library!

Falcons in Berkeley!

On Saturday, May 22, the caretakers of the UC Berkeley falcon webcam, Sean Peterson and Lynn Schofield joined Berkeley Public Library for a free Zoom event about the raptors all around us. We heard about falcons, hawks, owls, eagles, and other neighborhood raptors. Recommended for age 3 and up. Click here to watch a recording of this event.

Our Resident Raptors Book Adventures ResourcesNew falcon chick hatches 4/17/2021

Find a booklist here.

Find books, movies, eaudiobooks, and more here.

Raptor webcams in our area--see who else is nesting nearby!

Remember, these webcams show nests that are occupied for only a short time each year.

Videos about Raptors

Print a coloring page

Simple Science Activities

Who are the Compost Heroes?

Do you know a Compost Hero? 
What would life be like without these important community helpers?
Find the answers to these questions and more with books, videos and a special event, all from Berkeley Public Library.

BerkeletGreenBinOn Saturday, March 20, 2:30-3:15 pm, Berkeley Public Library hosted a free interactive zoom meeting about compost heroes.

We pretended to be wiggly earthworms, munching microbes, mysterious molds and helpful humans that do this important work of composting. We learned about them too! For age 3 and up.earthworm

You might be surprised by the things that are happening right beneath your feet!
You might be a Compost Hero too!

Compost Heroes Book Adventures Resources

Tools Rule! 

What are tools for and what can we do with them? How do tools make our lives easier?  What tools do you use every day?

Meet the Tool Lending Library

What is a tool? What do we use them for?

Watch a recording of Tools Rule: Meet the Tool Lending Library! This live event was held on Saturday, January 23 from 2:30 to 3:30. Tool Lending Specialist, Robert Young shows off tools, answers questions and demonstrates how to build a planter box using tools from the Berkeley Public Library's Tool Lending Library. Get a fun, behind-the-scene’s peek with an expert from this local treasure!

More videos with Mr. Young, Tool Lending Specialist from the Berkeley Public Library:

Recommended for age 3 and up. 

Tools Rule Book Adventure Resources

Ohlone Tools

The Ohlone people's skills enabled them to live well off the land's natural bounty. We will look at hunting and cooking tools used by the East Bay area's original inhabitants and that are still being used and revitalized by current day Ohlone people.

On Saturday, December 12,  2:30-3:15 pm, we met special guest, naturalist Dino Labiste of Coyote Hills Regional Park of the East Bay Regional Parks in  a live virtual event. Naturalist Labiste talked about hunting and cooking tools of the Ohlone people and how they are made.

Watch the recorded presentation here. Recommended for ages 4 and up.If you liked Naturalist Labiste's presentation about tools of the Ohlone people, find out more with these videos!

SPIDERAMA! Spiders in Your Neighborhood

How do spiders help us? How do they help our community? Our world?

START HERE to answer these questions and embark on your own family spider experience for our kickoff BOOK ADVENTURES program this October and November!

Watch a recording of Spiderama! Live, held on Saturday, October 24 from 2:30 to 3:30, in which Ranger Anthony Fisher of the Tilden Environmental Education Center and Patrick Stadille, author of Spiders in Your Neighborhood (Heyday Books, 2013), each talked about our friendly neighborhood spiders.

View our online calendar to see all all programs and look for up-to-date information.