Saturday, October 19, 2013

Condors in Colca Canyon

By Jamie and Jason

When we went to the Colca Canyon (in Peru), we saw two Andean condors.  We wanted to learn more about them, so we looked up information about them, and made this post.

Facts
Its wingspan is up to 10 1/2 feet.  It has the longest wingspan of any bird.  It's the biggest bird that can fly.  Its weight is up to 33 pounds.  The Andean condor's body length is 4 feet (average) when it is fully grown (almost as big as Jason).  They need wind to fly, because they are so heavy.  They glide on wind currents.  Because of this, they need to live in windy areas.  They live along the coast of western South America, and in the Andes mountains.

Condors are carnivores.  They are scavengers, and they act like a clean-up crew, by cleaning up the leftovers from dead animals.  They're actually a type of vulture.

They are endangered, and they only have one chick every two years.  The Andean condor is in better shape than its California condor cousin.  The Andean condor gets some help through breeding programs.

Andean Condor we saw in Colca Canyon, Peru
Close-up of Condor

Monday, October 7, 2013

Blue Morpho Butterflies

By Jamie & Jason

This is our post about blue morpho butterflies.  The reason we are doing this post is we wondered about morphos and why the top side of their wings are blue.  Also, 1st grade at our school will be studying and taking care of butterflies in the spring.

Facts about Blue Morpho Butterflies

The top side appears to be iridescent blue, but isn’t really blue.  Their wings have nanostructures, or very very small structures, that reflect blue light.

Photo from Wikipedia

The bottom side is brown with spots that look like eyes.  The brown provides camouflage from predators when the wings are closed.

Bottom side of blue morphos (while eating fermented fruit)

When it’s flying the iridescent blue and brown flash making it seem like the butterfly is appearing and disappearing.  Birds and insects eat morpho butterflies.

Blue morphos eat fermented fruit.  Fermented means rotten fruit that has alcohol in it.  They eat the fruit through a proboscis, which is kind of like a straw, and is their mouth.

Blue morpho butterflies only live 3-4 weeks as butterflies because of what they eat (alcohol isn’t so good for butterflies just as it isn’t for humans).  Their entire lifespan is 115 days including when they are caterpillars.

Blue Morpho butterflies live in Mexico, Central America, and the northern parts of South America.  They have a 5-8 inch wingspan and they’re one of the biggest butterflies in the world.


Links:
NISE Network
Wikipedia
Rainforest Alliance
Youtube video that zooms into the wings of a blue morpho


(Note - the Wikipedia photo is provided under the Creative Commons license - more info here)