Sunday, August 24, 2014


If you took all the insects and animals in the world and counted them , there would be more insects than all the other animals in the world put together!!!

Insects have a hard exoskeleton, three pairs of jointed legs, three body parts, compound eyes and two antennae.
All Insects start their life as eggs. Some hatch out to become larvae,  just like my Tobacco Horn- worm caterpillars below.  Then they emerge as adults( beetles, wasps and  hornets, butterflies, etc.).

                                                          It can also turn into a moth.

Others, such as mantes, dragonflies, and a few others hatch and become nymphs. Mantis nymphs look exactly like the adults, just smaller, and without wings. Dragonfly nymphs look like little aliens, with a huge bottom lip to help it catch prey, such as minnows, mosquito larvae and eggs, etc.

But no matter how big or small, colorful or plain, they are all beautiful in their own little way (: 

Post by Ethan

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


We went to a bird banding at Seven Islands State Birding Park and saw two, new, very cool birds. Here is all the equipment they use there.
They use these mist nests to catch birds. They don't get tangled up, instead it has pockets that they fly into. Here they are checking the nets.

Here they are taking a Eastern Phoebe out of a net.
To band the birds, they use lots of special equipment, including: pliers, small aluminum bands, a scale, lots of different kinds of rulers and field guides and lots other stuff. Here they are banding a Yellow Warbler.

 They blow on a birds belly area to look for fat and a brood patch, a bare spot on a nesting female to help keep her eggs warm.

 They weigh them on this type of scale in film canisters or these little bags.

 There are two different methods of holding this size of bird, one, the bander's grip or, two, the photographers grip, as shown below.

They keep records of everything about the birds they catch.

They have to take down the nets after-words, or else birds might get caught and there will be no one to take them out.
In the end,we all even got to release a bird.

Post by Ethan

Monday, August 18, 2014


 We found these two Tobacco Horn-worm moth caterpillars in our garden. They were so huge! We took them inside and started feeding them. Eventually, they started shrinking! We thought we had done something wrong, but really they were just getting ready to make their cocoons.
 These types of caterpillar do not cling to branches like most do to make a cocoon, they burrow! Finally          mine made theirs, so I dug them up and put them in a container.

  I misted them once a day, just to make it easier for them to hatch. They turned from green, yellow and brown, to a dark earthy brown. Then, one morning I noticed that one cocoon
was laying on its side of the container, empty? Then, I noticed something else...

there was a big Tobacco Horn-worm Moth trying to climb up the side of the container!!!  It's tongue was about 5" long! Its wings had still not dried yet so it probably hatched that morning. Some other names for the tobacco Horn-worm moths are Six-Spotted sphinx and Tobacco-Fly. The Sphinx are definitely my favorite moths.

Post by Ethan

Sunday, August 17, 2014


A Praying Mantis is almost always a preying mantis.They are excellent hunters, with their long back legs and flexible tail help to maintain balance, for when any other small insect such as a bee, fly, small moths or very rarely small birds happen to pass by! We found this male Praying mantis at Fort Loudon near our house, took it home and started to feed and water it, in other words we had our own pet alien.

At first we were all a little bit afraid to even touch it, but finally we overcame our fear and started holding it all the time!    

We were outside one day and found this green Chinese Mantis in our garden. We held it a little and set him free again.

Here is a video of one when threatened.

Post by Ethan