Archive for May, 2010

What is the largest bird in the world?

Ostrich

The ostrich is the largest of all birds today.  It may be 8 feet tall and weigh more than 300 pounds.

The ostrich is the largest of all the birds today.  A full-grown male ostrich may be 8 feet tall and weigh more than 300 pounds.  Ostriches live on the plains and desets of Africa.

Like all birds, ostriches have feathers and wings.  But their great size and small wings make it impossible for them to fly.

They are fast runners, and can easily outrun most enemies, which are mainly lions.  Ostriches can also protect themselves by kicking with their powerful legs.

This big bird lays the largest egg of any living bird.  An ostrich egg can measure seven inches long and weigh 3 pounds – as a two-dozen chicken eggs.

Newborn chicks are about a foot tall.  When a young ostrich is a month old, it can run as fast as an adult.  Ostriches usually eat plants. But they will also gulp down lizards and insects when they fin d them.

They swallow sand and pebbles to aid in digestion.  Ostriches make loud hissing sounds. – Dick Rogers

What is an ermine?

Short Tailed Weasel

An ermine is really a short tailed weasel whose brown summer coat has turned white in the winter.

An ermine is really a kind or weasel whose brown fur has turned white in the winter.  It is called an “ermine” only when its fur is white.

Weasels live in many parts of the world.  But only in such cold northlands as Canada and Siberia can you find weasels that turn into ermine.

This foot-long animal, known as the short-tailed weasel, has a long, slender body and short legs.

In summer, the weasel wears a coat of silky brown fur, in the autumns; its brown hairs are gradually replaced by new white ones.

By winter the short-tailed weasel has become a spotless white ermine, with a coat black tip on its tail.

Just the opposite happens in the spring, and the animal is once again a brown, short-tailed weasel.  The result is a year-round camouflage.

Ermine is sometimes called “royal” fur.  At one time in England, only royalty was allowed to wear this valuable fur.  When used by royalty, ermine fur is called “miniver.” – Dick Rogers

Why do birds sing?

Singing Bird

Usually, the male bird sings to attract a mate and to warn other male birds away from its nesting territory.

People who know about birds tell us that birds sing as a way of communicating with other birds.

Birds do most of their singing during the mating and nesting season.  Male birds do almost all of the singing.

Usually, the mate bird sings to warn other male birds to say away from his nesting territory.  The same song may be used in courtship to attract the attention of the female bird.

Sometimes birds seem to sing just for the joy of making music.  Each kind of singing bird has its own song.

Thrushes and song sparrows are among the best singers, and many other birds also have beautiful songs.  Not all birds sing well.  Crows, loons, and blue jays, for examples, have unpleasant voices.

Birds often make sounds other than singing.  A mother hen chicks keep her chicks from scattering.  She gives another call that warns them of danger.  – Dick Rogers