Interesting Facts About Rocks

Hey there! I’m researching rocks because I’m curious about them. I also like rocks because they are so interesting. Enjoy!

Geologists define rocks as aggregate of minerals. Minerals are naturally occurring, not unhealthy substances with specific chemical compositions and structures. A rock can be filled of many crystals of one or more minerals, or combinations of many minerals. Several exceptions, such as coal and obsidian, are not composed of minerals but are thought to be rocks.

People often use rocks for include building materials, roofs, sculpture, jewelry, tombstones, chalk, coal for heat, and more. Oil and natural gas can also be found in rocks. Many metals like a fork are made from rocks known as ores. Even, prehistoric humans used rocks as early as 2,000,000 B.C. Flint and other hard rocks were very important raw materials for crafting arrowheads and other special natural made rocks.

Around 500,000 B.C., rock caves and structures made from stones had become important forms of shelter for early man. During that time, early men had learned to use fire, a development that allowed humans to cook food as needed to survive and greatly expand their geographical range. Eventually, most likely no sooner than 5000 B.C., humans had realized that minerals such as gold and copper could be from rocks. Tons of ancient monuments were crafted from stone, including the pyramids of Egypt, built from limestone about 2500 B.C., and the buildings of Chichen Itza in Mexico, also of limestone, built near A.D. 450.

Since the 1500s, scientists have studied minerals and mining, fundamental aspects of the study of rocks. Georg Bauer published Concerning Metallic Things in 1556. By 1785, the British geologist James Hutton published Theory of the Earth, in which he explained his observations of rocks in Great Britain and his conclusion that Earth is much older than previous scientists before him had guessed. Geologists are scientists who study the earth and rocks, distinguish three main groups of rocks: igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, and metamorphic rocks.

These distinctions are made on the basis of the types of minerals in the rock, the shapes of individual mineral grains, and the overall texture of the rock, all of which indicate the environment, pressure, and temperature in which the rock was made. Igneous rocks form when magma is below the land of the Earth or lava at the land of the Earth hardens. The minerals in the rock will make crystals or grow together so that the separate crystals make 1 crystal altogether. Igneous rocks and magma make up much of the oceanic and continental crust, as well as most of the rock deeper in the Earth.

Igneous rocks can be identified by the interlocking appearance of the crystals in them. Typical igneous rocks do not have a layered texture, but exceptions exist. For example, in large bodies of igneous rock, relatively thick crystals that are made early can sink to the bottom of the magma, and less thick layers of crystals that are made later can accumulate on top. Igneous rocks can form deep within the Earth or at the surface of the Earth in volcanoes.

In general, igneous rocks that form deep within the Earth have large crystals that indicate a longer period of time during which the magma cools. Igneous rocks that form at or near the surface of the Earth, such as volcanic igneous rocks, cool quickly and contain smaller crystals that are difficult to see without magnification. Obsidian, also called volcanic glass, cools down so fast that no crystals are made. Nevertheless, obsidian is considered to be an igneous rock.

Igneous rocks are classified on the basis of how much minerals there are and the size of the crystals in the rock. Extrusive igneous rocks have small crystals and crystallize at or near the Earth’s surface. Intrusive igneous rocks cool slowly below the Earth’s surface and have larger crystals. Rocks made up of thick, dark-colored minerals like olivine, pyroxene, amphibole, and plagioclase are called mafic igneous rocks.

Light-colored, less thick minerals, including quartz, mica, and feldspar are called felsic igneous rocks. Common igneous rocks include the felsic igneous rocks granite and rhyolite, and the mafic igneous rocks gabbro and basalt. Granite is an intrusive igneous rock that includes large crystals of the minerals quartz, feldspar, mica, and amphibole that form deep within the Earth. Rhyolite includes the same minerals, but forms as extrusive igneous rock near the surface of the Earth or in volcanoes and cools quickly from magma or lava, so its crystals are difficult to observe with the naked eye.

Similarly, gabbro is more coarse-grained than basalt and made deeper down in the Earth, but both rocks include the minerals pyroxene, feldspar, and olivine. Fabulous exposures of igneous rocks occur in the volcanoes of Hawaii, volcanic rocks of Yellowstone National Park are located in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, in Lassen Volcanic National Park and Yosemite National Park in California. Sedimentary rocks are those made of grains of preexisting rocks or organic material that, in most cases, have been eroded, deposited, compacted, and cemented together. They typically form at the surface of the Earth as sediment moves as a result of the action of wind, water, ice, gravity, or a combination of these.

Sedimentary rocks also form as chemicals precipitate from seawater, or through accumulation of organic material such as plant debris or animal shells. Common sedimentary rocks include shale, sandstone, limestone, and conglomerate. Sedimentary rocks typically have a layered appearance because most sediments are deposited in horizontal layers and are buried beneath later deposits of sediments over long periods of time. Sediments deposited rapidly, however, tend to be poorly layered if layers are visible at all.

Sedimentary rocks are made in many different environments at the surface of the Earth. Eolian, or wind blown, sediments can accumulate in deserts. Rivers carry sediments and deposit them along their banks or into lakes or oceans. Glaciers make unusual deposits of a wide variety of sediments that they pick up as the glacier expands and moves; glacial deposits are well exposed in the northern United States. Sediments can travel in currents below sea level to the deepest parts of the ocean floor.

Secretion of calcium carbonate shells by reef-building organisms produce large quantities of limestone. Evaporation of seawater has resulted in the formation of widespread layers of salt and gypsum. Swamps rich in plants can produce coal if organic material accumulates and is buried before aerobic bacteria can destroy the dead plants. Sedimentary rocks are classified on the basis of the sizes of the particles in the rock and the composition of the rock.

Clastic sedimentary rocks comprise fragments of preexisting rocks and minerals. Chemical precipitates are sedimentary rocks that are made by precipitation of minerals from seawater, salt lakes, or mineral-rich springs. Organic sedimentary rocks formed from organic matter or organic activity, such as coal and limestone made by reef-building organisms like coral. Grain sizes in sedimentary rocks range from fine clay and silt to sand to boulders.

The sediment in a sedimentary rock reflects its environment of deposition. For example, wind-blown sand grains commonly is evidence of abrasion of their surfaces as a result of colliding with other grains. Sediments transported long distances tend to decrease in size and are more rounded than sediment deposited near their precursor rocks because of wearing against other sediments or rocks. Large or heavy sediments tend to wear out of water or wind if the energy of the water or wind is insufficient to carry the sediments.

Sediments deposited rapidly as a result of slides or slumps tend to include a larger range of sediment sizes, from large boulders to pebbles to sand grains and flakes of clay. Such rocks are called conglomerate. Along beaches, the rhythmic activity of waves moving sediment back and forth produces sandstones in which the grains are well rounded and of similar size. Glaciers pick up and carry a wide variety of sediments and often scratch or scrape the rocks over which they travel.

Sedimentary rocks are the only rocks in which fossils can be preserved because at the elevated temperatures and pressures in which igneous and metamorphic rocks form, fossils and organic remnants are ruined. The presence of fossils and the types of fossil organisms in a rock provide clues about the environment and age of sedimentary rocks. For example, fossils of human beings are not present in rocks older than approximately two million years because humans did not exist before then. Similarly, dinosaur fossils do not occur in rocks younger than about 65 million years because dinosaurs became extinct at that very time.

Fish fossils in sedimentary rock indicate that the sediments that make up the rock were deposited in a lake, river, or marine environment. By establishing the environment of the fossils in a rock, scientists learn more about the conditions under which the rock formed.

Spectacular exposures of sedimentary rocks include the Grand Canyon which is in Arizona, the eolian sandstones of Zion National Park which is in Utah, the limestones of Carlsbad National Park which is in New Mexico, and glacial features of Voyageurs National Park which is in Minnesota. Metamorphic rocks are named for the process of change that affects rocks. The changes that make metamorphic rocks usually include rises in the temperature (generally to 392°F) and the pressure of a precursor rock, which can be igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic, to a degree that the minerals in the rock are no longer stable. The rock might change in mineral content or appearance, or even both. Clues to identifying metamorphic rocks include the presence of minerals such as mica, amphibole, staurolite, and garnet, and layers in which minerals are aligned as a result of pressure applied to the rock.

Common metamorphic rocks include slate, schist, and gneiss. Metamorphic rocks commonly are made in mountains such as the Appalachian Mountains, parts of California, and the ancient, eroded metamorphic rocks in the Llano Uplift of central Texas. Metamorphic rocks are classified depending on their constituent minerals and texture. Foliated metamorphic rocks are those that have a layered texture. In foliated metamorphic rocks, elongate or platy minerals such as mica and amphibole become aligned as a result of pressure on the rock. Foliation can range from alternating layers of light and dark minerals typical of gneiss to the seemingly perfect alignment of platy minerals in slate.

Some metamorphic rocks aren’t foliated and have a massive texture devoid of layers. Mineralogy of metamorphic rocks reflects the mineral content of the precursor rock and the pressure and temperature at which metamorphism occurs. As sediments undergo metamorphism, the layers of sediment can be folded or become more pronounced as pressure on the rock increases. Elongate or platy minerals in the rock tend to become aligned in the same direction.

For example, when shale metamorphoses to slate, it becomes easier to split the well-aligned layers of the slate into thin, flat sheets. This property of slate makes it an attractive roofing material. Marble-metamorphosed limestone typically does not have the pronounced layers of slate, but is used for flooring and sculptures.

Metamorphism of igneous rocks can cause the different minerals in the rocks to separate into layers. When granite metamorphoses into gneiss, layers of light-colored minerals and dark-colored minerals form. As with sedimentary rocks, elongate or platy minerals become well-aligned as pressure on the rock increases.

As sediments undergo metamorphism, the layers of sediment can be folded or become more pronounced as pressure on the rock increases. Elongate or platy minerals in the rock tend to become aligned in the same direction. For example, when shale metamorphoses to slate, it becomes easier to split the well-aligned layers of the slate into thin, flat sheets. This property of slate makes it an attractive roofing material.

Marble-metamorphosed limestone-typically does not have the pronounced layers of slate, but is used for flooring and sculptures. Metamorphism of igneous rocks can cause the different minerals in the rocks to separate into layers. When granite metamorphoses into gneiss, layers of light-colored minerals and dark-colored minerals are made. As with sedimentary rocks, elongate or platy minerals become well-aligned as pressure on the rock increases.

It is possible for metamorphic rocks to change into other metamorphic rocks. In some regions, especially areas where mountain building is taking place, it is not unusual for several episodes of change to affect rocks. It can be difficult to unravel the effects of each episode of metamorphism. The word igneous comes from the Latin word ignis which means of fire. Sedimentary rocks make layers at the bottoms of oceans and lakes.

Layers of sedimentary rocks are called strata.

I got this photo at http://www.hydroponicsnewyorkcity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/river-rocks.jpgimage but originally Google Images.

What Websites I used:

http://science.jrank.org/pages/5919/Rocks.html

http://www.ducksters.com/science/rocks.php

Books I Recommend: The Weight of a Mass by Josephine Nobisso

Hey there! This is my 27th book recommendation list. Please note that near the end there are Amazon short links and I’ll be using them instead.

1. The Weight of a Massby Josephine Nobisso
2. Decemberby Eve Bunting
3. The Telling Stoneby Maureen Doyle McQueen
4.Tink, North of Never Landby Disney
5. A Summer of Sundays by Lindsay Eland
6. Cinderellaby Disney
7. Livvie Owen Lived Here by Sarah Dooley
8. Once Upon A Marigold by Jean Ferris
9. Antastia’s Secret by Suzanne Dunlap
10. Four Clues for Rani by Disney
11. Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve
12. The Seven Tales of the Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas
13. The Class Trip from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
14. The Magic Finger by Ronald Dahl
15. The Games Book by Huw Davies
16. The Spotted Dog Last Seenby Jessica Scott Kerrin
17. A Single Shardby Linda Sue Park
18. Unhooking the Moonby Gregory Hughes
19. Who’s in Chargeby Courtney Sheinmel
20. Sprinkles & Surprisesby Coco Simon
21. Get Into Gear, Stilton!by Geronimo Stilton
22. The Secret of the Maskby Gertrude Chandler Warner
23. Friends of Liberty by Beatrice Gormley
24. Bailey the Babysitter Fairyby Daisy Meadows
25. Changes for Julieby Megan McDonald
26. Happy New Year, Julieby Megan McDonald
27. Van Goghby Ernest Raboff
28. Yeh-Shinby Ai-Ling-Louie
29. The Boy Who Found The Lightby Dale De Armond
30. The Story of Noodlesby Yang Ching Compestine
by Ying Chang Compestine

(amazon affiliate links)

A Story About A Cat Who Has Magic Powers

Hi, everyone! I chose this story because I wanted the story to be worthy of sharing. Take a deep breath and enter the magical cat story below.

Once upon a time, there was a cat named Maggie McRita who wanted to be different from every other cat. So she went to her cat books and read but couldn’t get any ideas.

After she finished reading, she decided to research on her cat laptop. She discovered so many ideas and she brainstormed to choose the best idea yet.

The best idea was to learn some magic and become famous. She set out for her kitten books again which were in the cat fun room.

This time she read magic cat books, so she looked at the beginner tricks. She assumed that all the magic was going to be slightly easier than her kitten chores.

She decided to do a coin trick as her first trick. She decided to do a card trick as her next magic trick at 6:00pm PDST or 9:00pm.

She practiced until bedtime and she got so good, she had a good idea. She had started to perform in front of her whole cat family.

She started performing for other cats who lived in the country and they started asking her to perform at a cat birthday party. She started getting famous during her magic tricks.

She wanted a lot of cats to help out too and she wanted a mate. Soon, she was traveling to places she had always dreamed of going.

She finally found a cat who wanted to mate with her and his name was Concertino. She fell in love but she kept on doing her magic tricks and they both had the same clever idea.

She got married to Concertino 3 months later. She and Concertino did magic tricks and traveled together to places they always dreamed of going.

They had two twin kittens named Water and Earth. As the kittens grew up, they helped with magic but they really wanted to be artists.

When they were old enough, they told the truth. Maggie wasn’t disappointed in them, she figured that was what they were up to.

So, off they went and they both found mates that were also twins. They offered to be in just one house.

So they lived in a cat mansion. The mates wanted to become artists also so Water and Earth set off to teach their mates as much as they knew.

Shortly afterward, they each had 4 babies. Meanwhile, Maggie had some health issues and she was unable to do magic during that time.

So the rest of the family helped her to do magic until she was healthy again. She went onward to doing challenging tricks.

One day while Maggie was practicing, she fell on her paw weirdly. The paw hurt so much that it was bleeding and she couldn’t get up.

So the rest of the family went to look for the cat doctor. They found her and the family told them that Maggie had hurt her ankle and come as fast as she can.

After a few seconds, the doctor arrived. The doctor told the family including Maggie that she had a broken ankle and she had to sit in a wheelchair for a few days.

Shortly afterward, she began to walk on crutches for a month. After the month had past, she walked with a rainbow walker that glittered for the rest of the year.

After the last of the year had past, she was able to walk again. She was advised not to do any advanced magic tricks that involved her paws.

She kept that warning for years to come and when her health fell for the last time, no one was able to help her at all. She slipped into a coma that lasted a few weeks and the coma kept coming back after a few weeks more.

Then the coma kept getting worse until she slept the whole time. Eventually, her breathing slowed down until it was nothing at all.

At that point, her death had struck her almost immediately and they thought that she was just holding her breath. Her whole family was completely devastated and that was only her 2nd life and they no longer did magic.

However, they remembered her for the rest of their lives. They put her in the cat Hall of Famous Cats and every cat who didn’t know her asked someone who knew her.

The End

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I got this photo at http://orig10.deviantart.net/5182/f/2013/182/9/e/magic_kingdom_by_ivany86-d6biz63.pngimage but originally Google Images.

The History of Cupcakes

Hi there! I decided to research about cupcakes because I was reading a fictional cupcake book. Hope you enjoy the cupcake facts!

The cupcake evolved in the United States in the 19th century, and it was revolutionary because of the amount of time it saved in the kitchen. There was a shift from weighing out ingredients when baking to measuring out ingredients. According to the Food Timeline Web, food historians have yet to pinpoint exactly where the name of the cupcake originated.

There are two theories: one, the cakes were originally cooked in cups and two, the ingredients used to make the cupcakes were measured out by the cup. In the beginning, cupcakes were sometimes called “number” cakes, because they were easy to remember by the measurements of ingredients it took to create them: One cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, four eggs, one cup of milk, and one spoonful of soda. Clearly, cupcakes today have expanded to a wide variety of ingredients, measurements, shapes, and decorations – but this was one of the first recipes for making what we know today as cupcakes.

Cupcakes were convenient because they cooked much quicker than larger cakes. When baking was down in hearth ovens, it would take a long time to bake a cake, and the final product would often be burned. Muffin tins, also called gem pans, were popular around the turn of the 20th century, so people started created cupcakes in tins.

Since their creation, cupcakes have become a pop culture trend in the culinary world. They have spawned dozens of bakeries devoted entirely to them. While chocolate and vanilla remain classic favorites, fancy flavors such as raspberry meringue and espresso fudge can be found on menus.

There are cookbooks, blogs, and magazines specifically dedicated to cupcakes. Icing, also called frosting in the United States, is a sweet often creamy glaze made of sugar with a liquid, such as water or milk, that is often enriched with ingredients such as butter, egg whites, cream cheese, or flavorings. It is used to cover or decorate baked goods.

Elizabeth Raffald documented the first recipe for icing in 1769 in the Experienced English Housekeeper, according to the Food Timeline. The simplest icing is a glace icing, containing powdered sugar and water. This can be flavored and colored as desired, for example, by using lemon juice in place of the water.

More complicated icings can be made by beating fat into powdered sugar (as in buttercream), by melting fat and sugar together, by using egg whites (as in royal icing), and by adding other ingredients such as glycerin (as in fondant). Some icings can be made from combinations of sugar and cream cheese or sour cream, or by using ground almonds (as in marzipan). The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups” was written in American Cookery by Amelia Simmons.

The earliest documentation of the term cupcake was in ‘Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats’ in 1828 in Eliza Leslie’s Receipts cookbook. In the early 19th century, there were two different uses for the name cup cake or cupcake. In previous centuries, before muffin tins were widely available, the cakes were often baked in individual pottery cups, ramekins, or molds and took their name from the cups they were baked in.

This is the use of the name that has remained, and the name of “cupcake” is now given to any small cake that is about the size of a teacup. The name “fairy cake” is a fanciful description of its size, which would be appropriate for a party of diminutive fairies to share. While English fairy cakes vary in size more than American cupcakes, they are traditionally smaller and are rarely topped with elaborate icing.

The other kind of “cup cake” referred to a cake whose ingredients were measured by volume, using a standard-sized cup, instead of being weighed. Recipes whose ingredients were measured using a standard-sized cup could also be baked in cups; however, they were more commonly baked in tins as layers or loaves. In later years, when the use of volume measurements was firmly established in home kitchens, these recipes became known as 1234 cakes or quarter cakes, so called because they are made up of four ingredients: one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, and four eggs.

They are plain yellow cakes, somewhat less rich and less expensive than pound cake, due to using about half as much butter and eggs compared to pound cake. The names of these two major classes of cakes were intended to signal the method to the baker; “cup cake” uses a volume measurement, and “pound cake” uses a weight measurement. Cupcakes have become more than a trend over the years, they’ve become an industry!

Paper baking cups first hit U.S. markets after the end of the World War II. An artillery manufacturer called the James River Corporation began manufacturing cupcake liners for U.S. markets when its military markets began to diminish. By 1969, they consolidated business as a paper company and left artillery manufacturing behind.

During the 1950s, the paper baking cup gained popularity as U.S. housewives purchased them for convenience. Their flexibility grew when bakers realized that they could bake muffins as well as cupcakes in the baking cups. The modern idea of the cupcake is probably different from the historical origin of the phrase.

Imagine what it would be like being a cook in 19th-century Britain or North America. When food historians approach the topic of cupcakes, they run into a gray area in which the practice of making individual cup-sized cakes can become confused with the convention of making cakes with cup-measured ingredients. The notion of baking small cakes in individual containers probably began with the use of clay or earthenware mugs.

It could have been a way to use up extra batter; to make the most efficient use of a hot oven by placing small ramekins, or little baking dishes, in unused spaces; or to create an evenly baked product fast when fuel was in short supply. Early in the 20th century, the advent of multi-cupcake molded tins brought modest mass production methods to cupcake making, and a modern baking tradition was born. Cakes in some form have been around since ancient times, and today’s familiar round cakes with frosting can be traced back to the 17th century, made possible by advances in food technology such as: better ovens, metal cake molds and pans, and the refinement of sugar.

I got it at storify.com but I originally got it at Google Images.

image

Websites I used:

http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/spring07/ayers/history.html

http://people.rit.edu/kge3737/320/project3/history.html

http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/food-facts/who-invented-the-cupcake.htm

http://inventors.about.com/od/cstartinventions/a/Who-Invented-The-Cupcake.htm

Where Would You Fly

Hi there, everyone! You are about to enter a writing & inspiring world. So hang on to your memories on Earth! Look below and you’ll see the writing prompt and story.

If you were a bird and you could fly anywhere, where would you go? (Look below for my answer). If I were a bird and I could fly anywhere, I would go to a tropical island that I could have all that’s needed. Look below for my story.

A Bird Flies Over An Island

I lived happily with my owner until one day, I was looking for my owner when I saw something below. I flew down to investigate and explore. I had found out this was the island of the Colorful Fairies. When I saw the Fairies, I asked them where my owner was and found out that my owner had went to heaven.

The Fairies said my real family was here. So I set out to find them. I asked around and I was about give up when a fruit fairy asked is that my family. I told her, “Yes,”!

My family asked me what happened to my owner. So I told them, he went to heaven. They felt sorry for me. They said that I was welcome to stay with them as long as I didn’t grab food before the rest of my family did.

I stayed as long as I could. I knew that I had to return to Hawaii. I had to be in a pet store again but this time, nobody came. So I mated and had 6 baby birds but I never forgot my family.

5 years later, I decided to visit the island with my new part of family. They loved to see their grand-birds and my mate. I promised I’d come back every 2 years until they went up to heaven and all went well.

The End

This photo below I got from http://www.tringa.org/images/8861_House_Finch_05-09-2008_0.jpg.

image

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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Latest Weather: Thunderstorms

Hi there! I decided to do thunderstorms for my weekly research and I thought that this time of year would be perfect. I’d like to thank my mother Camilla for making this possible.

A thunderstorm is a storm with lightning and thunder. It is produced by a cumulonimbus cloud, usually producing gusty winds, heavy rain and sometimes hail but not always in the Western USA. The basic ingredients used to make a thunderstorm are moisture, unstable air and lift.

The earth needs moisture to form clouds and rain. You need unstable air that is relatively warm and can rise rapidly. Finally, you need lift.

The lift can form from fronts, sea breezes or mountains. Thunderstorms can occur year-round and at all hours. But they are most likely to happen in the spring and summer months and during the afternoon and evening hours.

Some people estimated that there are around 1,800 thunderstorms that occur across our planet every day. All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes.

Thunder is the sound caused by lightning. The intense heat from lightning causes the surrounding air to rapidly expand and create a sonic wave that you hear as thunder. The average temperature of lightning is around 20000°C (36000°F).

The sound of thunder can be anything from a loud crack to a low rumble. Light travels faster than sound so we see lightning before we hear thunder. The closer you live, the shorter the gap between the lightning and thunder.

The speed of sound is around 767 miles per hour (1,230 kilometres per hour). The speed of light is around 669600000 miles per hour (1080000000 kilometres per hour). Thunder is difficult to hear at distances over 12 miles (20 kilometres).

Thousands of years ago, philosophers such as Aristotle believed that thunder was caused by the collision of clouds. Astraphobia is the fear of thunder and lightning. The Oklahoma basketball team that play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) are called the Thunder.

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I got this photo at http://www.top10spy.com/wp-content/uploads/Thunderstorms-Ever-Recorded.jpg but I actually found it on Google Images.

Sources I Used:

http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-thunderstorms

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/weather/thunder.html

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I help to support my family with my writings. I share my writings for free for the benefit of others. If you benefit from this writing, would you like to toss a tip in the love offering “bucket”? Oceans of gratitude … xoxo

A Friendship Story: A Friendship Between 4 Types of Candy

Hi there! This story will be for friendship. It should be helpful. You are about to enter a story about 4 candies friendship with a moral.

Jellybean went walking and found his friend Rocky (also known as Rock Candy). So Jellybean told him his wish of how he wanted to be seen. After that, Rocky set off to help his friend with a flyer. Shortly after, he ran into Orange Slice.

So he told Orange all about it. Before long, Orange set off to help Jellybean. After that, the candies became desperate and determined to help Jellybean.

A few days later, they ran into Jellybean and they told him their plan and he liked it. The plan was to let Jellybean do funny tricks. In 2 days, they put on a show.

In just 2 months, he got extremely popular. He was happy that his wish came true. From that day, they became best friends.

The moral of that story was if you wish something badly and you tell someone. Chances are you might just get your wish. Wasn’t that a great story?

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I found this photo on Google Images although this photo was really on http://www.economycandy.com/index.php?dispatch=products.view&product_id=753

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Books I Recommend: The Final Battle…For Now by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Hi there! This is the 18th book recommendation!

1. The Final Battle…for Nowby Lauren Baratz-Logsted
2. Hailey Twitch and the Great Teacher Switchby Lauren Barnholdt
3. Lost and Foundby Andrew Clements
4. Hailey Twitch and the Campground Itchby Lauren Barnholdt
5. Ibby’s Magic Weekendby Heather Dyer
6. Mary Mae and the Gospel Truthby Sandra Dutton
7. The Littles and the Big Stormby John Peterson
8. Aloha, Kanani!by Lisa Yee
9. Felicity’s Short Story Collectionby Valerie Tripp
10. Molly Marches onby Valerie Tripp
11. Kaya’s Short Story Collectionby Janet Shaw
12. Caddy’s Worldby Hilary McKay
13. The Quigleys Not for Saleby Simon Mason
14. The Quigleys in a Spinby Simon Mason
15. Saffy’s Angelby Hilary McKay
16. Sixth-Grade Glommers, Norks, and Meby Liza Papademetriou
17. Sheila Rae, the Braveby Kevin Henkes
18. Hair in Funny Placesby Bobette Cole
19. The Harmonicaby Tony Johnston
20. The Barn Owlsby Tony Johnston
21. Buffalo Girlsby Bobette McCarthy
22. The Little Piano Girlby Ann Ingalls & Maryann Macdonald

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