Why Trees Sparkle with Water

Hey, everyone! On February 13th, I saw the trees sparkle with melted snow and it inspired me to write this story. Here are some other stories: http://lilliandarnell.com/2018/02/02/how-rain-came-to-be-natures-glitter/http://lilliandarnell.com/2016/07/20/a-happy-world/,  and http://lilliandarnell.com/2017/03/09/angel-island/. I hope you enjoy!

Once long ago, there lived a family of trees in a faraway land of Tree Land. The trees names were Pine, Cherry, Apple, and Fire (also known as Delphine). They all lived happily in their home which was called the Palace of Fruit. One day,  an invitation arrived at the Palace of Fruit.

The invitation had said that the Ice King was having a tree ball to find the perfect tree for him to decorate. After the family of trees read the invitation, they knew that they had to have the most beautiful dress ever.

So Cherry and Apple went to Fashionable Blooms Store to look for a gorgeous dress. Meanwhile, Pine and Fire went to Fairytale Blossoms Store for a pretty dress. Cherry and Apple realized that they were in the wrong store so they went to Fairytale Blossoms Store instead.

While Cherry and Apple were at Fairytale Blossoms Store, Pine and Fire also had realized that they had been in the wrong store. So Pine and Fire went to Fashionable Blooms Store instead.

Cherry and Apple found a gorgeous sparkly dress aisle made from ice and snow all made from the Ice King. Cherry found a stunning glittery pink dress while Apple found an identical dress except it was a beautiful neon red color.

Pine and Fire found a flaming nutty dress aisle made from pinecones and fires made by the Fire King and Pine King. Fire found a flaming hot red dress while Pine found a pointy brown pine needle dress. Of course, Fire thought it looked a little dull so Fire sprinkled a bit of pinecone dust with glitter on it.

After Cherry and Apple paid for their dresses, they headed to Tree Lane. As they left, Fire and Pine paid for their dresses and they headed to Tree Lane as well to meet up at Olive’s Treet Diner to eat a celebratory meal together.

At the diner, the family of trees chose a peppermint bark salad with a lemon flavored fruit as a side. The family of trees talked about their dresses and Pine & Fire had admitted that they didn’t care about the Ice King. They did care for Pine King and Fire King who also happened to have a ball the same night.

So the family of trees split up for that big night but the big night wasn’t until the end of the month. The month flew by and the big night came, the family of trees got ready together but they split up so they could go to their balls.

That night when the Ice King saw Cherry and Apple in their stunning dresses, he asked to have an icy tree dance with them both separately. Of course, when the ball came to an end, the Ice King couldn’t decide who to decorate so he chose both Cherry and Apple.

Naturally Apple and Cherry were very surprised when he announced that Apple and Cherry were to live and be decorated at his home. Apple and Cherry glanced at each other wondering if Pine and Fire were having the same reaction at their ball.

Meanwhile, when the Fire King and Pine King saw Pine and Fire, the Fire King asked to have a flaming tree dance with Fire while the Pine King asked to have a pointy tree dance with Pine. When the ball was over, Fire King announced that Fire got to stay with him. While the Pine King announced that Pine got to stay with him.

Fire and Pine asked if they could go tell Apple and Cherry the good news. The Fire King and Pine King both agreed. Meanwhile Apple and Cherry were heading to Cherry’s Treat Palace so they could tell the good news to Cherry and Apple.

Fire and Pine had already been at Cherry’s Treat Palace for an hour when Apple and Cherry showed up. Once Cherry and Apple sat down, Cherry and Apple announced that they get to be decorated and stay with the Ice King.

After Cherry and Apple said their news, Fire announced her news and Pine also shared her news. They congratulated each other and went on their way. So if you see any trees sparkling with water, that is Cherry or Apple.

A bare tree with snow in the background.

A bare tree with snow in the background.

Books I Recommend: Buffalo Bird Girl by S. D. Nelson

Hey, everyone! This is my 44th book recommendation. I hope you enjoy!

1. Buffalo Bird Girl by S. D. Nelson

2. Jack by Tomie DePaola

3. Welcome to Kit’s World by Harriet Brown

4. Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfield

5. Ruby the Red Fairy by Daisy Meadows

6. Ava the Sunset Fairy by Daisy Meadows

7. Delicious by Susan Goldman Rubin

8. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

9. The Highest and Lowest by Katie Marsico

10. Florence the Friendship Fairy by Daisy Meadows

11. Wild Boy by Mary Losure

12. Wyoming by G.S. Prentzas

13. Montana by R. Conrad Stein

14. J. K. Rowling by Victoria Peterson Hilleque

15.  My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valério

16. Lives of the Writers by Kathleen Krull

17. The Greatest Treasure by Demi

18. The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy

19. Colorado by Barbara A. Somervill

20. Ohio by Darlene R. Stille

21. Talking With Tebé by Mary E. Lyons

22. Girls Think of Everything by Catherine Thimmesh

23. Nelson Mandela by Beatrice Gormley

24. Nobel’s Women of Peace by Michelle Benjamin and Maggie Mooney

25. Modern Art Adventures by Maja Pitamic and Jill Laidlaw

26. Humidity by Kristin Schuetz

27. Diana, Princess of Wales by Beatrice Gormley

28. The Ghost Wind Stallion by Emma Carlson Berne

29. The Trouble Begins At 8 by Sid Fleischman

30. Oprah Winfrey by Ilene Cooper

31. Clara Schumann by Susanna Reich

32. Name That Style by Bob Raczka

33.  Drawing From Memory by Allen Say

34. Polar Bear, Arctic Hare by Eileen Spinelli

35. Mallards by Margaret Hall

36. Native American Rock Art by Yvette La Pierre

37. Regarding The Bees by Kate Klise

38. Fair Weather by Richard Peck

39. Temperature by Kristin Schuetz

40. The Netherlands by Martin Hintz

41. Having Fun With Hair Feathering by Dana Meachen Rau

42. Scott of the Antarctic by Evelyn Dowdeswell, Julian Dowdeswell, and Angela Seddon

43. Mother’s Day Crafts by Arlene and Herbert Erlbach

44. Oregon by Deborah Kent

45. Louisiana by Allison Lassieur

Learn About Christmas

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Tweet 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 … Continue reading

Jealous Crayons

Hey there, everyone! I wrote Emotions With Animals: Jealous ParrotsAngry Candy StoryEmotions With Animals: Angry Ducks,  A Sad Princess StoryEmotions With Animals: Sad CatsA Happy FairyHappy DogsA Mindful Mermaid Story, and Mindful Goslings. I hope you enjoy my crayon story!

Once upon a time, a crayon named Brick was almost always jealous of his twin Periwinkle Strawberry Star ever since Periwinkle was born. One day, their parents called Indigo and Violet thought they should find a plan to stop the jealousy.

So they called, asked, walked, explored and traveled. Finally, they found a crayon named Blueberry Midnight Indigo. The trio crayons headed back to their colorful home. Indigo and Violet called Brick when they got home. Violet pretended to adopt Blueberry. Indigo pretended to tell Brick,”Periwinkle has been sent away.”

Over the next few days, Brick got to know Blueberry. Little did she know, that Indigo and Violet were with Periwinkle who was still in the colorful home. Soon a year passed since Brick had been jealous and Brick had become a great friend (good fake sibling also) to Blueberry.

One day, Violet and Indigo thought it was about time that Brick knew the truth. So Violet and Indigo told Brick the truth and showed Periwinkle who explained she had been in her colorful red and blue room while Indigo and Violet had visited her every day.

So Brick apologized to Periwinkle for being jealous about Periwinkle’s name. Periwinkle told her brother that she could change his name to Atomic Brick Red. Brick loved it and from that day forward he was Atomic. As for Blueberry, he married Periwinkle. Atomic Brick and Blueberry became brothers in law. If you look closely, you can hear the new trio laughing, talking, and having fun.

I hope you enjoyed my crayon story! Tune in next Friday for the next round of Emotions With Animals. Also, don’t forget to check out Camilla’s website at Mindful Musings.

Colorful Crayons found on Google Images!

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Books I Recommend: Thanking the Moon by Grace Lin

Hey there, everyone! This is my 28th book recommendation. Thanks so much for participating!

1. Thanking the Moonby Grace Lin
2. Catching The Moonby Myla Goldberg
3. Abuelita’s Heartby Amy Córdova
4. Brown Girl Dreamby Jacqueline Woodson
5. The World Almanac for Kids 2013by Infobase Learning
6. How to Read the Solar Systemby Chris North and Paul G. Abel
7.Fairy Heaven and the Quest for the Wandby Gail Carson Levine
8. Phenomenaby Donna M. Jackson
9. The Princesses Collectionby Ann Braybrooks
10. Making Amazing Artby Sandi Henry
11. Lili on Stageby Rachel Isadora
12. Follow the Drinking Gourdby Cari Meister
13. The Red Threadby Grace Lin
14. Rules of Summerby Shaun Tan
15. Soccer on Sundayby Mary Pope Osborne
16. The Year of the Babyby Andrea Cheng
17. The Ghost Ship Mysteryby Gertrude Chandler Warner
18. Red Thread Sistersby Carol Antoinette Peacock
19. Three Adventures of the Boxcar Childrenby Gertrude Chandler Warner
20. Schoolhouse Mysteryby Gertrude Chandler Warner
21. The Movie Star Mysteryby Gertrude Chandler Warner
22. The Eagleby Cynthia Rylant
23. The Year of the Fortune Cookieby Andrea Cheng
24. The Mystery of the Grinning Gargoyleby Gertrude Chandler Warner
25. Caitlin the Ice Bearby Daisy Meadows
26. The Wide Awake Princessby E.D. Baker
27. Secret at the Chocolate Mansionby Leslie Margolis
28. The Enchanted Guideby Julie Ferris
29. The 10 Best Anxiety Bustersby Dr. Margaret Wehrenburg
30. The Swiss Family Robinsonby Johann Wyss
31. Serafina’s Promiseby Ann E. Burg

(amazon affiliate links)

Books I Recommend: Anastasia by A.L. Singer

Hi there, everyone! This is the 24th book recommendation list. Have a great afternoon!

1. Anastasia by A.L. Singer
2. Arizona by Pat Ryan
3. Butterfly Watching by Diane Bair and Pamela Wright
4. The Little Butterfly by Sherry Shahan
5.Butterflies by Adele D. Richardson
6. Red, White, and Blue Goodbye by Sarah Wones Tomp
7. The Hard-Times Jar by Ethel Footman Smothers
8. The Golden Sandal by Rebecca Hickox
9. The Story of the Incredible Orchestra by Bruce Kosichelniak
10. Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat by Roxanne Orgill
11. I, Galileo by Bonnie Christensenhen
12. April Fool! Watch Out at School by Diane deGroat
13. Henry’s Dragon Kite by Bruce Edward Hall
14. The Butter Man by Elizabeth Alalou and Ali Alalou
15. New Hampshire by Deborah Kent
16. Arizona by Barbara A. Somervill
17. Utah by Deborah Kent
18. Nevada by Ann Heinrichs
19. Chocolate by Robert Burleigh
20. America the Beautiful by Katherine Lee Bates
21. No Talking by Andrew Clements
22. The Book Without Words by Avi
23. Cold in Summer by Tracy Barrett
24. Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
25. My Unwilling Sleeps Over by Hiawyn Oram
26. Monsters Don’t Scuba Dive by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
27. Starting with Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

(amazon affiliate links)

American Tree Sparrows

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 American Tree Sparrows.

American Tree Sparrows are small, round-headed birds that often fluff out their feathers, making their plump bodies look even chubbier. Like other sparrows, they have fairly small bills and long, thin tails. Their color pattern is a rusty cap and rusty (not black) eyeline on a gray head, a streaked brown back, and a smooth gray to buff breast in both male and female American Tree Sparrows give an overall impression of reddish-brown and gray. A dark smudge in the center of the unstreaked breast is common.

Small flocks of American Tree Sparrows hop about on the ground, scrabbling for grass and weed seeds, calling back and forth with a soft, musical twitter that might make you twitter, sing, or dance. A single American Tree Sparrow may perch in the open top of goldenrod stalks or shrubs, or on low tree branches. Look for small flocks of American Tree Sparrows in the winter in weedy fields with hedgerows or shrubs, along forest edges, or near marshes except for Reno, NV. They readily visit backyards, especially if there’s a seed feeder.

American Tree Sparrows breed in the far north and are hardly seen south of northern Canada in the summer. 4-6, usually 5. Pale bluish or greenish, with brownish spotting often concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female, 11-13 days; male visits nest often, but does not incubate. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest at age 8-10 days, when flight feathers not yet fully grown.

Parents may lure them away from nest by offering food. Young are able to fly at about 14-15 days after hatching; parents continue to feed them for about 2 more weeks. 1 brood per season, but may attempt to renest if 1st attempt fails. Diet in the winter is almost entirely seeds, from grasses, weeds, and other plants; also a few insects and berries.

In the summer, they eat mostly insects and other small invertebrates, plus a few seeds. Young are fed mostly insects. Pairs form shortly after birds arrive on breeding grounds. Male actively defends territory, chasing away other members of same species.

Nest site is on or near ground, in grass clumps beneath shrubs. Sometimes on hummock in open tundra; rarely up to 4′ above ground in willow or spruce. Nest is an open cup of twigs, grasses, moss, lined with fine grass and with feathers (usually ptarmigan feathers). Female builds nest in about 7 days.

All wintering areas are well to the south of breeding areas. Migrates relatively late in fall and early in spring. Apparently, migrates mainly at night. On average, females winter somewhat farther south than males.

The American Tree Sparrow is a small sparrow with a long notched tail. The adult has a streaked back and wings, with two white wing bars, but is otherwise unstreaked, while the juvenile is streaky overall. Adults have an unstreaked gray-brown breast and belly, with a dark spot in the center. The tail, rump, and nape of the neck are all solid gray.

The upper mandible of the bill is dark and the lower is yellow. The head is mostly gray, with a rufous crown and eye-line. American tree sparrows (Spizella arborea) breed throughout almost all of Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest territories, the very north of Manitoba and Ontario, all of Labrador, and in northern Quebec. Their winter range includes a very small part of southern Canada and all of the United States except for the western most 250 miles, the southern most 450 miles and all of Florida.

American tree sparrows usually breed near the tree line in open scrubby areas with willows, birches, alder thickets or stunted spruce. They may also breed in open tundra with scattered shrubs, often near lakes or bogs. They spend the winter in open forests, gardens, fields, and marshes. Baumgartner followed birds for the first 22 days of development.

Order of hatching was not dependent on the order of laying. Earlier hatched birds took the lead in development. During the nine and one-half days in the nest, the four feather tracts of the birds (dorsal, ventral, alar, caudal) go from completely bare to the back covered, lower belly slightly bare, wings 2/3 grown, and tail still a stub, and the birds grow from 1.62 gm to 16.7 gm, while their length goes from 33 mm to 75 mm during the same period. They lose 1.5 gm the first day out of the egg but have gained 3 gm by day 21 (Baumgartner, 1968).

On the second day after hatching the young were able to stretch for food. On the fourth day their eyes were half open, after the fifth day, wide open. The first sounds were made on the fifth day but were very soft. Fear was acquired between 7.5 and 8 days as demonstrated by their raucous calls when touched by humans.

During the first 12 days of the fledgling period (which lasts until about a month after leaving the nest in (Spizella arborea) the birds showed a steady increase in both tail length (14-47mm) and wing length (46-68mm). At the end of the first 21 days the wings were still slightly shorter and the tails about 2/3 the length of mature birds. A tree sparrow was observed to fly 30 or 40 ft fifteen days after hatching, and a little before one month after hatching, the birds could fly all around their territory. American tree sparrows are monogamous (one male mates with one female).

Males and females form breeding pairs after they arrive at the breeding sites in the spring. Both males and female sing to attract a mate. Females become excited when males come to sing nearby. They call back to the male, making a “wehy” sound.

Males may show off for females by spreading their wings and fluttering them or darting to the ground in front of the female, then flying back up to a perch. American tree sparrows breed between May and September. They raise one brood of chicks each year. The females builds the nest alone.

The nests are built on the ground out of moss, grasses, bark and twigs. They are lined with fine grass and feathers.The female then lays about 5 eggs. She lays one egg each day.

She incubates the eggs for 10 to 14 days and broods the chicks after they hatch. The chicks are altricial (helpless) when they hatch, so they rely on the female to protect them and keep them warm. Both parents feed the chicks until 2 to 3 weeks after the chicks leave the nest (called fledging). The young fledge from the nest about 9 days after hatching.

In late summer, the families join larger flocks. We do not know when young American tree sparrows begin breeding.
American tree sparrows breed once per year. Females incubate the eggs and brood the chicks after they hatch.

Both parents feed the chicks until they are about 22 days old. The oldest known American tree sparrow lived at least 10 years and 9 months. Most American tree sparrows probably live about 2.3 to 3.4 years. American tree sparrows are migratory.

Though they are usually active during the day (called diurnal), they migrate at night. American tree sparrows are territorial during the breeding season. Males sing to claim territories and they defend their territories from others. Females occasionally chase intruders too.

American tree sparrows do not defend winter territories. During the winter, they form large flocks that forage together. Within these flocks, some birds are dominant over other birds. American tree sparrows move by hopping on the ground and on branches, and by flying.

They do not swim or dive, but they do bath frequently. They roost alone trees or shrubs, haystacks, cornfields, and marshes. In the winter, they might take shelter together under the snow. American tree sparrows are omnivorous; they eat many different seeds, berries and insects.

During the winter, American tree sparrows mainly eat grass and weed seeds. During the summer, they mostly eat insects and spiders. American tree sparrows search for food among plants on the ground and the branches and twigs of shrubs and trees. In Massachusetts, they are often seen in flocks, feeding at bird feeders.

American tree sparrows need to drink a lot of water each day. During the winter, they eat snow in order to get enough water. Known predators of American tree sparrows include northern goshawks, sharp-shinned hawks, screech owls, pygmy owls, Cooper’s hawks, American kestrels, weasels, foxes, and red squirrels. When approached by humans, American tree sparrows give a rapid series of “tset” calls.

It is unknown how American tree sparrows respond to other potential predators. American tree sparrows are very important members of the food chain. They eat many weed seeds and insects and spiders, and they are an important food source for their predators.

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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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Books I Recommend: A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai

Hi there! This is the 19th book recomendation.

1. A Place Where Sunflowers Growby Amy Lee-Tai
2. The Quilt Storyby Tony Johnston & Tomie dePaola
3. That Book Womanby Heather Henson
4. Everything New Under the Sunby Anne Mazer
5. Dumpling Daysby Grace Lin
6. Bailey the Babysitter Fairyby Daisy Meadows
7. Blue Jasmineby Kashmira Sheth
8. Addison the April Fool’s Day Fairyby Daisy Meadows
9. The Prayer of Jabez for Kidsby Bruce Wilkinson
10. Writing Magicby Gail Carson Levine
11. All That Glitters Isn’t Goldby Anne Mazer
12. The New Year Dragon Dilemmaby Ron Roy
13. Caroline and Her Sisterby Maria D. Wilkes
14. Little House by Boston Bayby Melissa Wiley
15. House Of Happiness by Neil Phillips
16. Red Butterflyby A.L. Sonnichsen
17. Greenby Laura Peyton Roberts
18. Brookfield Daysby Maria D. Wilkes
19. Is Everyone Moonburned but Me?by Stella Pevsner
20. Flamingoes by Melissa Gish
21. Birds by Dominic Couzens
22. A Kid’s First Book of Birdwatchingby Scott Weidensaul
23. Little Town on the Prairieby Laura Ingalls Wilder

(Amazon Affilate Links above)

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Mountain Blue Birds

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 Mountain Blue Birds.

Mountain Bluebirds are moderately small thrushes with round heads and straight, thin bills. Compared with other bluebirds they are slender and long-winged, with a long tail. Male Mountain Bluebirds are sky-blue, a little bit darker on the wings and the tail and a little bit paler on the belly, with white up under the tail. Females are pretty much gray-brown with tints of pale blue in the wings and the tail.

They occasionally show orange-brown throughout the chest. Mountain Bluebirds’ bills are completely black. Younger Mountain Bluebirds have fewer spots than the other young of little bluebirds. Unlike other bluebird species, Mountain Bluebirds often hover while foraging; they also pounce on their insect prey from an higher perch.

In the winter, the species often occur in large flocks wandering the landscape eating on berries, particularly some of those junipers. Mountain Bluebirds are mostly common in the West’s wide-open spaces, particularly at middle and higher elevations like mountains. They breed in native habitats such as prairie, sagebrush steppe, and even alpine tundra; anywhere with open country with at least a few trees that can provide nest cavities. They also readily take to human-altered habitats, often nesting in bluebird boxes and foraging in pastures.

The powder-blue male Mountain Bluebird is among the most beautiful birds of the West. Living in more open terrain than the other two bluebirds, this species may nest in holes in cliffs or dirt banks when tree hollows are not available. It often seeks its food by hovering low over the grass in open fields. They lay 5 to 6 eggs, sometimes 4 to 8 eggs.

Pale blue, unmarked (occasionally white) are their colors. Incubation is by female for about 13 to 17 days. Young birds: Both parents feed nestlings. Young birds leave the nest about 17 to 23 days after hatching, and are protected by their parents for another 3 to 4 weeks.

They have 2 breeds each year. Mountain Bluebirds feed heavily on insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, crickets, ants, bees, and others. They also eat some berries, including those of mistletoe, hackberry, and other plants. Berries are very important in their diet in the wintertime.

Sometimes interbreeds with the Eastern Bluebird where their ranges overlap. Nest: Apparently the female selects the site for the nest. The site is in a cavity, usually a natural hollow or old woodpecker hole in tree, or in a birdhouse. Sometimes nests in holes in dirt banks, crevices in cliffs or among rocks, holes in sides of buildings, old nests of other birds (such as Cliff Swallow or Dipper).

Nest in cavity (probably built by both genders) is a loose cup of weed stems, grass, twigs, rootlets, pine needles, and maybe even lined with animal hair or animal feathers. Mountain bluebirds migrate relatively late in the fall and early in the spring. Winter range varies from year to year, depending on the food supplies. Flocks sometimes wander east on the Great Plains, and lonely stray birds occasionally go as far as the Atlantic Coast.

The mountain bluebird is six to seven inches in length. The mountain bluebird breeds from east-central Alaska, southern Yukon and western Manitoba, south in the mountains to southern California, central and southeastern Nevada, northern and east-central Arizona, southern New Mexico and east to northeastern North Dakota, western South Dakota and central Oklahoma. In winters, the birds go from Oregon south to Baja California, Mexico and southern Texas, and east to eastern Kansas, western Oklahoma and central Texas. The males or females arrive at the breeding site first.

The mountain bluebird breeds in high mountain meadows with scattered trees and bushes and short grass. In winters, they live at lower elevations in plains and grasslands. The lovely mountain bluebird (Sialia arctcia) was made the official state bird of Idaho in 1931. The male mountain bluebird is a brilliant sky-blue, the female is gray with blue on her wings and tail.

The bluebird family is especially common in Idaho’s mountains. Idaho recognizes two bird symbols; the peregrine falcon is the official state raptor. The mountain bluebird is currently the state bird of Nevada. The Mountain Bluebird has a large range, estimated globally at 4,400,000 square kilometers.

Native to Canada, the United States, and Mexico, the mountain bluebirds prefer grassland, forest, and shrubland ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 5,200,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Mountain Bluebird is Least Concern. The Mountain Bluebird is most likely to be confused with other bluebirds.

Male Mountain Bluebirds lack any reddish coloration on their underparts unlike Eastern and Western Bluebirds. Females are more difficult to separate. Eastern Bluebirds have a brownish throat and white belly while Mountain Bluebirds have gray throats and bellies. Western Bluebirds are browner on the breast than Mountain Bluebirds and have thicker bills.

Male Mountain Bluebirds might be confused with other all blue birds like Indigo Buntings and Blue Grosbeaks but these birds have much thicker, conical bills.

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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