November 2016

Animal Insect Dictionary: Tarantulas

Hi, this is Ella and today I am talking about tarantulas. 

Tarantulas are spiders that belong in a group called invertebrates. Invertebrate means no vertebrae or back bone. 

Tarantulas have prominent front teeth, which means that they stick out. Some people think that they are poisonous, but there is no record of a human dying from a tarantula bite. If a human gets a tarantula bite, it will hurt just like a bee sting and it looks like one too.

In some countries, including Cambodia, people eat fried tarantulas. Ew! 

Thank you for reading. 

-Ella Wilson, 8 years old

American Crows

The weather has started cooling down, which means that the crows sometimes seen flying over our farm have started clumping up on telephone wires like big dark shadows.

The american crow and the fish crow are the two most common types of crows in the United States. Some differences are: american crows are larger than fish crows, their calls are slightly different and fish crows' feathers are glossier. If you see a crow and you can not determine its type, you can listen to the call to differentiate. You can hear what american crows sound like here

American crows usually live in woodlands, agricultural fields, farmlands, river grooves and urban towns. They can be found anywhere from Canada to the southern United States.

These crows start breeding in early April. Female american crows usually lay between four and five round blue and brown speckled eggs. Then the female will incubate for about 18 days, until the chicks hatch. The chicks will stay in the nest for about sixty days until they venture outside. 

American crows are cooperative nesters and mate for life. Cooperative nesting means that even after a chick has grown up it will stick around and help its parents feed other clutches of chicks. Firstborn chicks will not be ready to mate until they are two years old, but sometimes they will stay with their parents for four or five years.

American crows are opportunistic eaters,which means that they will eat almost anything. Oftentimes, they eat garbage. Their diet consists of seeds, nuts, fruit, carrion, other birds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, arthropods, eggs and worms. They also eat discarded fast food such as french fries.

Crows are possibly the smartest birds in the world. Several tests have been conducted to see just how smart they really are.                  

In one experiment, scientists made a tube and placed a small basket with food in it then gave two crows, Abel and Betty, one straight wire and one bent wire. Abel grabbed the hooked wire and flew away while Betty grabbed the straight wire, bent it into a hook and fished the basket out of the tube. Neither of the birds had ever done this experiment before.

Another experiment is similar to Aesop's fable "The Crow and the Pitcher." Four crows were put into an enclosure with a worm floating in a tube of water just out of reach. There were also pebbles, some larger than others, placed in the enclosure. Two of the crows got the worm on their first try by using the bigger pebbles first to displace more water. There have also been tests that prove that crows are able to remember a specific person's face!

In conclusion, american crows will eat almost anything, stay with their parents sometimes five years after they are hatched and are some of the world's smartest birds. We hope to continue to see these birds at the farm.

-Esme Harp, 13 years old 

Amazing Artistic Animal Art: Fall Scene with Fox

Watch the video to view Callie's new painting, a lovely watercolor of a fox and fall leaves.