Wild Turkey

In October last year, I went on a trip to Minneapolis with my mom and dad.  One of the places we went to was the Minnesota Zoo.  It was a great zoo with some really neat animal exhibits.

While we were there, we were walking on a path outside and a wild turkey flew in and landed in front of us.  It saw us and took off flying again, landing inside a fence near the path.  We looked into the fence, and wondered what animal was inside the pen.  Then we saw a wolf running towards where we saw the turkey land.  I don’t think the turkey got out.  🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Fire-bellied Toad

This is a fire-bellied toad.  He doesn’t really have fire on his belly, but he is poisonous.  He’s very interesting because he has different colors on his back and his belly.  On his back, he is light green and dark green spotted.  This gives him camouflage and makes him blend in with the grass.  When an enemy gets too close, he jumps up and shows his black and red belly to try to scare it away.  If that doesn’t work, the enemy will soon find out that it has poison on its skin.

In this picture, you can see a little bit of his bright red belly.

Fire-bellied toads live in Korea, China, and Russia.  Their habitat is ponds, lakes, ditches, and rice paddies.  They eat insects, worms, and snails, and they grow about 2 inches long.  Sometimes people keep them as pets.

We took these pictures at the Frogs exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

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This is a picture of my pet plecostomus.  His name is Suck.  He has a very important job in my fish tank.  He sucks up the algae on the glass, on the leaves, and almost anywhere else in the tank, except on other fish.  Besides the algae in the tank, we sometimes give him an algae pellet.  He also likes to turn upside down when we feed the other fish and eat dried flakes like the other fish.

Plecostomuses don’t mind being upside down at all.  Other fish don’t like being upside down.

Other names plecostomuses go by are pleco, plec, common pleco, common plecostomus, and suckermouth catfish.  Its scientific name is Hypostomus plecostomus, which is cool because it rhymes.

When he sticks to the glass, you can see his suckermouth and his belly really well.  He sure is fun to watch.

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Differential Grasshopper

This is a differential grasshopper.  They are found in most of the United States, except the Northwest, Southeast, and New England.  They are very common in Wisconsin.  I see them around my house quite a bit.

We took this picture at the Horicon Marsh.  We visited there on September 26, 2010, to do some hiking and look at birds.  I saw this bug on the trail and knew right away that it was a differential grasshopper.  You can tell by the arrows on its legs.

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Red-Tailed Hawk

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at home watching the movie Race to Witch Mountain with my dad.  (There is a dog, a tarantula, and a gila monster in the movie. A gila monster is a big lizard.)  In the middle of the movie, our doorbell rang.  It was Uncle Paul, Aunt Laura, and baby Luke.  Uncle Paul said, “Birds are doing crazy things outside.  You have got to come out and see.”  So we grabbed the camera and headed outside.  There were two crows fighting with a red-tailed hawk.  But they were just finishing their fight when we got outside.  The red-tailed hawk was on top of a street light pole.  We took the picture above of him sitting on the pole.  After a minute, he flew away, and we were able to get a picture of him flying.

Red-tailed hawks are common in my neighborhood.  This summer, we saw them all the time in our backyard.  One time I saw one eating a rabbit under our apple tree.  I drew a zoo sign and put it up next to our back window so people that look out the window and see a red-tailed hawk can identify it.  The sign shows its scientific name: Buteo jamaicensis.

The red-tailed hawk is diurnal, which means it comes out during the day and sleeps at night.

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This is Sherman.  Sherman belongs to my Uncle Tim and Aunt Ady.  Sherman is a cock-a-chon, which is a mix between the American Cocker Spaniel and Bichon Frise breeds of dog.  He is a very friendly and active dog.  He visits my Grandpa and Grandma Miller a lot and likes to watch Packer games with us.  The picture above shows Sherman with my little sister Evie.  My grandpa took this picture about a year ago.

For a newer picture of Sherman, check out this picture we took on Halloween this year of Sherman and Uncle Tim:

Sherman can do tricks also.  Check out this movie:

Sherman Twirls on Vimeo.

Or watch on YouTube. (If you are using an iPod, use this link.)

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This is Liberty, a Humboldt penguin chick at Milwaukee County Zoo.  I just learned about her while reading the Zoo’s website.  She was named Liberty because she hatched on July 4th of this year. Liberty’s dad is named Jack and her mom is named Eva.

We went to the Milwaukee Zoo this summer, and one of my favorite animals there was the Humboldt penguins.  But at that time, Liberty was still too young and was not on display.  According to the website, she is now on display at the zoo swimming with the other penguins.

We got these pictures from the Zoo’s website.  When Liberty is full grown, she will have a black stripe on her chest, and a black patch on each side of her head.  Humboldt penguins can’t fly, but they are very good swimmers.  They live on the coasts of Chile and Peru, and they love to eat fish.

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Chicken and Evie

This is a chicken.  The little girl trying to pet the chicken is my little sister Evie.  These chickens were near the donkeys in the Moldova room at the Tour of Missions last week at Pathways Church.  The chickens were very friendly and were walking around.  They didn’t even mind being held.

Chickens are very common at farms around the world. Male chickens are called roosters and females are called hens.  They give us tasty eggs and yummy meat.  My favorite food is chicken nuggets, which are made from chicken.

Chickens are omnivores, which means they eat both plants, like seeds, and animals, like insects.  Chickens do not fly long distances, but some chickens can fly short distances to hop over a fence or into a tree.

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Dark-eyed Junco

We saw this dark-eyed junco yesterday in our backyard.  He was playing in the rain.  There are a few different varieties of dark-eyed juncos.  This one is a slate-colored dark-eyed junco, which is the only kind of junco found in Wisconsin.  Juncos are a kind of American sparrow.

You can here a recording of the dark-eyed junco’s song from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center by clicking here:
Dark-eyed Junco song

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Bunny Cracker Crunch

Last night, we watched a movie called Ratatouille.  It is a great movie about a rat who loves to cook.  After the movie was over, I wanted to make up my own food recipe like Remy the rat does in the movie.  So I invented Bunny Cracker Crunch.  So far, everyone who has tried it likes it.

Here is the recipe:

You need a pack of fruit snacks.  The best fruit snacks have animal shapes.  I used Finding Nemo fruit snacks.  You also need Bunny Crackers.  Put the bunny crackers into a plastic ziplock bag. Then you crush up the bunny crackers into little pieces.  After they are all crushed up, dump the bunny cracker pieces into a bowl.  Next, get the fruit snacks wet and put the fruit snacks into the bowl with the bunny cracker pieces.  Roll them around until they are all covered with bunny cracker pieces. Then eat them!

If you try making these at home, please leave a comment and let me know if you like them.

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