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Hello, everyone! You might want to know more about Christmas. Thank you for visiting my blog! Christmas is my favorite holiday. In Argentina, the weather is almost always warm at Christmas. Preparations for Christmas begin very early in December and … Continue reading

Latest News: California Quail

Hi there! My mother, Camilla, suggested that I write a series of posts about birds on my blog since I’ve been talking about them and learning about them. Please let me know if you have any bird books, CDs, or a website you’d recommend! Here is the part about California Quail.

California Quail are plump, short-necked game birds with a small head and bill. They fly on short, very broad wings. The tail is fairly long and square. Both sexes have a comma-shaped topknot of feathers projecting forward from the forehead, longer in males than females. Adult males are rich gray and brown, with a black face outlined with bold white stripes. Females are a plainer brown and lack the facial markings. Both genders have a pattern of white, creamy, and chestnut scales on the belly. Young birds look like females but have a shorter topknot.

California Quail spend most of their time on the ground, walking and scratching in search of food. In morning and evening they forage beneath shrubs or on open ground near cover. They usually travel in groups called coveys. Their flight is explosive but lasts just long enough to reach cover.

You’ll find California Quail in chaparral, sagebrush, oak woodlands, and foothill forests of California and the Northwest. They’re quite tolerant of people and can be common in city parks, suburban gardens, and agricultural areas. The California quail is a small, plump bird with a short black beak. The male has a gray chest and brown back and wings. It has a black throat with white stripes and a brown cap on its head. The female has a gray or brown head and back and a lighter speckled chest and belly. Both the male and the female have a curved black crown feather on their foreheads. The male’s crown feather is larger than the female’s.

The California quail is sometimes called the valley quail. The California quail eats seeds, plant parts like buds and sometimes insects. They feed in flocks in the early morning. The California quail can be found from southern Oregon to southern California and east into Nevada. The California quail lives in grasslands, foothills, woodlands, canyons and at the edge of deserts. It likes areas with lots of brush. The California quail lives in coveys of 10 to 200 birds in the winter.

They will stay in these flocks until they pair off during mating season. Male California quails will perch on a tree or post and call out to claim their territory. The California quail will roost in trees to avoid danger and to rest. Males often compete for a mate. They will mate with only one female. Females usually lay between 12-16 cream and brown speckled eggs. Their nest is a shallow hollow or scrape in the ground that is lined with grass. The female incubates the eggs for about three weeks. Both parents will care for the chicks. The chicks leave the nest shortly after birth. They make their first attempts at flight when they are about 10 days old. They will stay on the ground for about a month and then will roost in trees with the rest of the flock.

The female usually has one brood a year. This sharply-marked bird with the curving topknot is common along the California coast and in a few other areas of the west. It has adapted rather well to the increasing human population, and is often found around well-wooded suburbs and even large city parks. California Quail live in coveys at most seasons, and are often seen strutting across clearings, nodding their heads at each step. If disturbed, they may burst into fast low flight on whirring wings.

The California Quail is a gray, ground-dwelling bird, more slender than most other quail. It has a light breast with scaled patterning, white streaks along brown sides, and black and gray scaling on the nape of the neck. The female has a tan head with a small feather plume. The male has a bold black face outlined in white, with a brown crown and a pendulous feather plume hanging forward from his forehead.

The California quail, California’s state bird, is a 9-11 inch hen-like bird with a distinctive teardrop-shaped head plume called a top-knot. Their plump bodies vary from grayish to brown with scaly markings on the lower breast and abdomen. Males are particularly elegant with a black throat, chestnut patch on the belly, a bluish gray breast, white speckles on its flanks, and a white stripe on the forehead and around the neckline. Females have a smaller top-knot and lack the male’s distinctive facial markings and black throat.
Her crest is dark brown and her body is brown or gray with white speckles on the chest and belly. The marked sexual dimorphism is believed to play an important part in breeding displays. Juveniles resemble the female, but have shorter and lighter colored crests. As ground dwelling birds, their short and powerful legs are well adapted for terrestrial locomotion. They can fly rapidly, but only for short distances. When alarmed they prefer to run, flying only as a last resort.

California quail are best adapted to semiarid environments, ranging from sea level to 4000 feet and occasionally up to 8500 feet or higher (Sumner 1935). As long as there is abundant food, ground cover, and a dependable water source, quail are able to live in a variety of habitats including open woodlands, brushy foothills, desert washes, forest edge, chaparral, stream valleys, agricultural lands, and suburb areas. Cover is needed for roosting, resting, nesting, escaping from predators, and for protection from the weather (Sumner 1935, Leopold 1977).

Leopold (1977) separates California quail habitat areas into four major ecological zones arid ranges mostly in Southern California and Baja California, transitional ranges in the Sacramento Valley, humid forest ranges associated with the Coast and Cascade ranges, and interior Great Basin and Columbia Basin ranges. Of these the transitional ranges in the Sacramento Valley foothills provide the most stable quail habitat, characterized by mild winters, moderate rainfall, moderately dense ground vegetation, and generally adequate ground cover.

California quail are generalists and opportunists, so food intake varies by location and season. Their main food items are seeds produced by various species of broad-leafed annual plants, especially legumes. This includes plants such as lupine (Lupinus sp.), clover (Trifolium sp.), bur clover (Medicago sp.), and deer vetches (Lotus sp.) (Leopold 1977). Their bills are typical for seedeaters: serrated, short, stout, and slightly decurved.

Shields and Duncan (1966) studied California quail diet in the fall and winter during a dry year on the San Joaquin Experimental Range in the central Sierra Nevada foothills. They found that seeds comprised 82% of their diet, while green leafage contributed 18%. Duncan (1968) also studied quail diet in the same area and found that legume seeds were their most important food item. Quail also eat leafy materials, acorns, fruits and berries, crop residues, and some insects (Leopold 1977).

During the fall and winter, California quail are highly gregarious birds, gathering into groups, called coveys. In most situations, covey size averages about 50 birds, but under intensive management and protection, coveys can get as large as 1000 birds (Leopold 1977). In the covey, the quail tend to imitate one another and exhibit cooperative behavior. For example, when one bird finds a good supply of food it often calls the others to it. Likewise, when a member of the covey perceives danger it will warn the group with the appropriate call (Sumner 1935).

California quail communicate with 14 different calls (Leopold, 1977). This includes courtship, re-grouping, feeding, and warning calls. The most frequently heard location call has been described as “cu-ca-cow” or “chi-ca-go.” At the start of nesting season in early spring the coveys break up, as quail pairs spread themselves out into different habitat areas to nest and rear their young.

At the end of summer each new quail family rejoins the others to form a new covey where they will remain until the next breeding season. Emlen (1939) observed this seasonal movement in his study of California quail on a 760-acre farm in the vicinity of Davis, California. In the winter, four coveys, containing 21-46 birds, had home ranges of 17-45 acres, roughly one acre for each bird. The covey locations and range size depended on the amount of brush cover available. The four territories were separated by 350 yards to half a mile and contact between the coveys was infrequent.

The members of a covey tended to feed and roost together in mid-winter, but occasionally they broke up into smaller units. Winter movements were restricted with only 5 to 10 acres of an entire territory utilized by the covey on any one day. The same area would serve as a feeding ground for a few days to two or three weeks when the birds would move to another part of their territory. The California quail is common to states of the Pacific coast. They were first introduced into Utah in 1869.

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Sources I Used:

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Mountain_Bluebird/id

http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/mountain-bluebird

http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/mountainbluebird.htm

http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/idaho/state-bird/mountain-bluebird

http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/581/overview/Mountain_Bluebird.aspx

http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/infocenter/i7680id.html

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/california_quail/id

http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/californiaquail.htm

http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/california-quail

http://dwrcdc.nr.utah.gov/rsgis2/search/Display.asp?FlNm=callcali

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Tree_Sparrow/id

http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/american-tree-sparrow

http://birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/american_tree_sparrow

http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Spizella_arborea/

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Song_Sparrow/id

http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/song-sparrow

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Nature: Research for Carnations

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Hi there! Camilla has let me pick my own assignment. I chose a flower. I would have done more flowers but Camilla said to choose only one flower. So I chose carnation.

The single flowers of the Carnations species, Dianthus caryophyllus (that’s the scientific name) has 5 petals and they can vary from white to pink to purple in colors. Border Carnation cultivars may have double flowers with 1 to 40 petals. When they grow in gardens, Carnations grow to between 6 and 8.5 cm in diameter. Petals on Carnations are generally clawed or serrated.

Carnations are bisexual flowers and bloom simply or in a branched or forked cluster. The stamens on Carnations can occur in one or two whorls, in equal number or twice the number of the petals. The Carnation leaves are narrow and stalk less and their color varies from green to grey-blue or purple. Carnations grow big, full blooms on strong, straight stems. The carnation’s history dates back to ancient Greek and Roman times, when it was used in art and decor.

Christians or some spirituals believe that the first carnation bloomed on earth when Mary wept for Jesus as he carried his cross. Carnations in these early times were predominantly found in shades of pale pink and peach, but over the years the palette of available colors has grown to include red, yellow, white, purple, and even green. Throughout so many centuries of change, the popularity of the carnation has remained undiminished. The fact that the carnation continues to endure is a testament to its vast appeal.

The meanings of carnations include fascination, distinction, and love. Like many other flowers, different messages can also be expressed with the flower’s different color varieties. Light red carnations, for example, are often used to convey admiration, whereas the dark red version expresses deeper sentiments of love and affection. White carnations are associated with purity and luck, and pink carnations are often given as a sign of gratitude.

In the early part of the 20th century, carnations became the official flower of Mother’s Day in addition finding particular significance in many other cultures worldwide. To this day, carnations remain a favorite flower choice for many different occasions. They are immediately recognizable flowers, and they possess a charm and allure that continues to captivate people around the globe. In fact, in many parts of the world, the popularity of carnations surpasses that of any other flower including roses.

The powerful sentiments these flowers can express are a perfect complement to their classic beauty and long-lasting freshness. Carnation is a flowering plant that belongs to the family Caryophyllaceae. There are over 300 varieties of carnations that can be found throughout the world. These plants originate from Europe and Asia.

Carnations are cultivated at least 2000 years because of their beautiful flowers and intense fragrance. Carnations require well drained soil, enough moisture and direct sunlight for successful growth. These flowers are symbol of labor movement and mother’s love in the most countries of the world. Some people in France believe that carnations symbolize bad luck, where they are used mostly for the preparation of funeral bouquets. Carnation is a herbaceous plant that can reach 31 inches in height.

Carnation has 6 inches long slender leaves. They are usually grayish or bluish green in color and covered with waxy substance. White carnations will change its color after adding food coloring to the water. The flower will change its color after 24 hours.

Dianthus is Latin which for “flower of the gods”. White carnations are inevitable part of wedding bouquets and bouquets prepared for the first wedding anniversary. Carnations are birth flowers for all people that are born in January. These flowers are often used as decoration for tuxedoes.

Bouquets made of pink carnations are traditionally prepared for Mother’s day. Colombia is the greatest producer of carnations in the world. Carnations are national flowers of countries such as Monaco, Spain, Slovenia and Ohio. They are also used as a symbol of different fraternities and sororities.

Carnations can propagate via seeds and plant cuttings. Carnations are perennial plants, which mean that they can live more than 2 years. Carnations also have long lifespan in the vase – they can remain fresh up to 14 days after removal from the ground.

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This is the website I got the image from even though I found it on Google Images: http://www.list-of-birthstones.com/birth%20flowers/Pictures%20of%20birth%20flowers/carnation%20flower.jpg

Sources I Used:

http://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/mostpopularflowers/carnations

http://www.proflowers.com/blog/history-and-meaning-of-carnations

http://www.softschools.com/facts/plants/carnation_facts/637/

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A View Of A Princess’s Life

Hi there! Camilla decided that I write a blogpost on whatever I like once a week. You’re about to enter a princess’s life at her birth.

There once lived Queen Lilliana and King Topaz who yearned to have a child (specifically a daughter). One day later, the Queen had a baby girl and the King and the Queen were very happy. They had a christening/baby shower/ party and everyone in the kingdom came.

Everyone watched the queen name the baby. The queen had selected Melody as her name. When Melody was one year old, she talked like a princess should.

She was 3, when she learned to walk like a princess. She was 5 when she was crowned. She began to study at age 7. She got a new bed at 9 years old.

She started washing her hair at 11 years old. She started brushing her hair at 13 years old. She started getting dressed at age 15. She then started liking young princes at school during her 16th year.

She started getting boyfriends in her 17th year. She started dates with boys in her 18th year. She found the perfect boy to marry in her 19th year. She planned the wedding in her 20th year.

She got married in her 21st year. She had babies in her 22nd year. In the 23rd year, she went to work.

In her 24th year, her husband died. In her 25th year, she became ill. In her 26th year, she died but her parents still remember her.

So to remember her, they built a statue, made a speech, a museum, some art, some pictures and some books. Her parents died shortly after all that was done. Her children took place of the throne.

Nobody forgot her. So when they died, they joined her so she didn’t get lonely.

There’s a lesson and the lesson is you should always honor someone after they die especially if that person is special.

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I got this photo at eBay.com but specifically http://www.googleimages.com/.

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