Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The report is done!

M giving his report at Village Home. It got done, miraculously, by noon the day before he had to give it. He wrote (most) of it himself. This kid does love birds of prey. Well animals of almost any kind really. Text below!

California Condors

California Condors look like giant vultures. They have big pouches under their beaks. On the underside, they have a white stripe at the front of their wings. They have a red blotch on their breast. Then on the tail feathers, there is a gray patch that looks like antelope prongs. The rest of their body is black. A condor's feet and head are bald. This keep disease away. Condors eat carrion, or dead meat. Often the meat is already rotting or filled with maggots. If their head was covered in feathers, it would be covered in bacteria and maggots. With a bald head, a condor can fly in the sun and the ultraviolet rays will kill any bacteria.

A California Condor can weigh up to 30 pounds. It has a wingspan up to 9.5 feet, or almost 3 meters and can be 4 feet tall. That's one big bird! A condor has a hooked beak like other birds of prey. It's head looks like most other vultures. You can see the ear hole on the side of it's head. Condors can live up to 50 years, which is a long time for a bird. Adult condors' only real predator is humans. Condors are so big that they don't flap their wings much. They flap to take off from the ground, but then just soar. They can soar at 55 miles per hour and reach heights up to 15,000 feet. They like to perch up high so it's easier to take off. But they have to perch on dead stumps and cliffs—they are too heavy for tree branches!

Condors nest on cliffs. They make rocky nest in the cliffs, and the sad thing is they only lay one egg per mating season. Or 1 egg per year. Unless the egg is taken away, then the pair will mate again and make another egg. They can make up to 3 eggs a year if you do this. This is one way conservationists are helping condors. If conservationists did not take the eggs, there would only be one egg every 2 years.

Condors used to live all over the Southwest. Now they only live in Southern California, the Grand Canyon, and Baja California. California Condors almost went extinct. The last wild Condor was put in captivity in 1987 so they could be bred. The number of condors in the wild is growing. There are now 300 condors living, 155 condors in the wild.

Threats to the condor include, habitat destruction, DDT, and lead poisoning. DDT use has been banned, so this is no longer a major threat. But lead poisoning is still a serious threat. Hunters who use lead shot leave animals entrails in the wild. Condors eat the entrails and the lead shot. The lead builds up in their system, giving them lead poisoning. Even if it doesn't kill an adult condor, the babies will not make it. Some places are trying to pass laws outlawing lead shot, but the NRA opposes this.

Four main places are working on breeding condors. They are the San Diego Zoo, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Boise Center for Birds of Prey, and the Oregon Zoo.

What can kids do to help the condors? We can tell people all about condors and what cool birds they are. If you know a hunter, you can tell them about the dangers of lead shot and ask them to use non toxic bullets. Also remember to clean up your trash. Condors like shiny things and take them back to the nest for their young. This is because bones are good for baby condors. Glass, cans, pop tops and other trash isn't. Littering hurts all animals.

I really like California Condors. They are amazing birds. I hope that people can save them so we can see them flying in the wild forever.

Today was den meeting for Cub Scouts. The boys had made tin can ovens in their last meeting and today they cooked hot dogs on them. Fire, food, boys, FUN!

E's toy from Lilbees came the other day. He loves it. Thanks, Brightonwoman!

This is the face that greets me when I walk into the room. Awwwww. He is very social and like most people. He'll even generally let people hold him and such. But I love the way he smiles at me.


RasJane said...

PapaCoyote asked, "Good job, M. I enjoyed reading your report. You seemed to hit all the important points. Did you show your audience a picture of the condor?"

M replies, "Kinda, well, I didn't have very much time. I showed a map of the Condor range, a Condor I made, and the movie. It's link is at the bottom of my report."

And Mama reminds Papa Coyote to use initials. ;)

Lanna said...

Amazing report, M! I'm so impressed!

I can't imagine the 30 insane Fife children at J's Cubs doing anything with fire..

Brightonwoman said...

so glad he likes it!! Bear sure liked his about that age too. :-)