Wild Turkey

Have you seen a live turkey walking around in the forest?

Wild Turkey Colored Page
Wild Turkey Colored Page

Ryan, our dog has! Ryan frequently finds Wild Turkies when he’s training in Cuyamaca State Park. In the Spring you can frequently see a hen, or mother turkey, and poults, or young turkeys walking in a line together. He never chases them but he does like sniff them out and watch them walk by.

“Turkeys have many vocalizations: “gobbles”, “clucks”, “putts”, “purrs”, “yelps”, “cutts”, “whines”, “cackles”, and “kee-kees”. In early spring, males older than a year old (sometimes called gobblers or toms) and, occasionally to a lesser extent, males younger than a year old (sometimes called “jakes”) gobble to announce their presence to females and competing males. The gobble of a wild turkey can be heard up to a mile away. ” Expedia

Kids Activities: Coloring pages for Thanksgiving.
Kids Activities: Coloring pages for Thanksgiving.

Get the California Ground Squirrel Coloring page along with a few other local creatures. And have fun coloring and learning.

San Diego Creature Wild Turkey Stats

Common Name: Wild Turkey

Latin Name: Meleagris gallopavo

Description: As adults they generally have blackish and dark body feathers. Adult males have a large, featherless, reddish head, red throat, and red wattles on the throat and neck.

Size:  Males end up being about 39–49 in (100–125 cm) long

Weight:  Adult males can be 11 to 24 lb (5 to 11 kg) 

Habitat: Wild turkeys prefer hardwood and mixed conifer-hardwood forests with scattered openings such as pastures, fields, orchards and seasonal marshes.

Status: Least Concern

Scientific Classification

Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Meleagris
Species: M. gallopavo


Follow Us to Find Out More Cool Creature Stuff!

The San Diego Creature Project is an animated children’s program created by kids, for kids. Follow three brothers, their cousin, and their dog Ryan as they solve creature mysteries with science and learn about life in Southern California.


Sources

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California State Parks  (Retrieved 13NOV2020)
iNaturalist: Wild Turkey (Retrieved 13NOV2020)

Acorn Woodpecker

The Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) does a really cool thing!

Acorn Woodpeckers in a tree
Young Acorn Woodpeckers in a tree.
Acorn Tree
Acorn Tree close-up.

These young Acorn Woodpeckers (above) seem to be waiting on Mt. Laguna for a snack to be brought to them. The Acorn Woodpeckers are known for a very cool behavior. They save acorns for the winter! These birds create granaries trees or “acorn trees” by drilling holes and placing acorns in them to eat later. A single tress can have up to 50,000 holes in it and be used for several generations, or grand parents, parents, and children that come after them. And you thought squirrels were the only ones that hid nuts… 😉

Another cool fact is that these birds work together in groups 10+ Acorn Woodpeckers. Frequently, older brothers and sisters will help the mother and father with the new chicks. They all work to defend food stores and nesting territories, or area of land, year-round. They nest in cavities, or large holes, in old trees.

Get the Acorn Woodpecker Coloring page along with a few other local creatures. And have fun coloring and learning.

Acorn Woodpecker Stats

Common Name: Acorn Woodpecker

Latin Name: Melanerpes formicivorus

Description: a medium-sized woodpecker with straight, spike-like bills and stiff, wedge-shaped tails used for support as the birds cling to tree trunks.

Length: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)

Weight: 2.3-3.2 oz (65-90 g)

Wingspan: 13.8-16.9 in (35-43 cm)

Fascinating Fact: These birds collect and store acorns in holes in granaries trees or “acorn trees.”

Scientific Classification

Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Melanerpes
Species: M. formicivorus


Follow Us to Find Out More Cool Creature Stuff!

The San Diego Creature Project is an animated children’s program created by kids, for kids. Follow three brothers, their cousin, and their dog Ryan as they solve creature mysteries with science and learn about life in Southern California.


Sources

iNaturalist: Acorn Woodpecker (Retrieved 13NOV2020)

Audubon Society (Retrieved 14NOV2020)

All About Birds (Retrieved 14NOV2020)

Wikipedia (Retrieved 14NOV2020)

 

 

 

 

California Ground Squirrel

Have you seen these creatures running around in parks and digging holes?

California Ground Squirrel
California Ground Squirrel

What are they, and what are they doing with these holes? These creatures are known as California Ground Squirrels. And these holes they are building aren’t just holes. It’s their home! These are also known as burrows. These burrows can be made by the squirrels, but can be occupied by different creatures. They can be occupied by a rattlesnake, a weasel, and more!

We spotted the squirrel above on the rocky bank of the San Diego River, in the Southern Wildlife Preserve. He/she sat there calmly looking at us while we took the picture. Cool!

Like all creatures, California Ground Squirrels have a mating season. The mating season is usually in the early spring and lasts for about 3-4 weeks. After the squirrels have given birth, the baby squirrel stays with the parents for about 8 weeks. A California ground squirrel can only live for about 6 years of age.

Like every living thing in the world, California Ground Squirrels have a habitat. A habitat, or place where the creature lives, is a very important part of the creature. This creature is in many natural habitats, like the coastal shore, or the forests. These creatures can mainly be spotted near a coast, but can also be sighted farther away from the shore, like in places with trees.

These California Ground Squirrels mainly are herbivores, or animals that only eat plants. These creatures eat mainly seeds, grain, nuts, and sometimes roots. The California ground squirrel has cheek pouches, or a place to store extra food. These cheek pouches can hold food that can be eaten at later dates.

Kids Activities: Coloring pages for Thanksgiving.
Kids Activities: Coloring pages for Thanksgiving.
CA Ground Squirrel Coloring Page
Download the California Ground Squirrel Coloring Page

Get the California Ground Squirrel Coloring page along with a few other local creatures. And have fun coloring and learning.

San Diego Creature California Ground Squirrel Stats

Common Name: California ground squirrel

Latin Name: Otospermophilus beecheyi

Description: The California ground squirrels upper parts are mottled, containing a mixture of gray and white. Around the eyes are a whitish color, and around the tummy area is a yellowish gray.

Size: Body: 30 cm (12 in) Tail: 15 cm (5.9 in)

Weight: 280-738 g (9.9-26.0 oz)

Habitat: Earthy banks are more preferred for burrow homes
Fascinating fact: The tail swishing from side to side is called tail-swishing, which helps deter a snake during a snake attack

Status: Least Concern

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Otospermophilus
Species: O. beecheyi


Follow Us to Find Out More Cool Creature Stuff!

The San Diego Creature Project is an animated children’s program created by kids, for kids. Follow three brothers, their cousin, and their dog Ryan as they solve creature mysteries with science and learn about life in Southern California.


Sources:

iNaturalist (Retrieved 21AUG2020)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_ground_squirrel (Retrieved 21AUG2020)

 

National Public Lands Day Kid Friendly Activities 2020

Happy National Public Lands Day September 26, 2020!

Celebrate National Public Lands Day with some of these kid friendly activities. We’ll be voluneering with a group from SDG&E doing beach clean up.

National Public Lands Day
Torrey Pines State Park

“National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. Established in 1994 and held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, the event brings out thousands of volunteers to help restore and improve public lands around the country.” https://www.neefusa.org/npld

A volunteer – a person who offers to do something, or a person who works for an organisation without being paid. (Oxford Student’s Dictionary)

National Public Lands Day Kid Friendly Activities San Diego Map
San Diego County map

Due to Covid restrictions many parks aren’t doing as many events this year. Be sure to check conditions and with an event organizer before heading out.

National Public Lands Day Cabrillo
Cabrillo National Monument overlooking San Diego.

Top Kid Friendly Activities for National Public Lands Day

  • We’ll be doing beach clean up with SDG&E! We’ve got masks, shirts, buckets, gloves, and even a grabber.

    San Diego Creature Snowy Egret
    Snowy Egret at the Southern Wildlife Preserve San Diego River, San Diego, CA, USA.
  • Visit a park. National parks and participating agencies are free.
    City of San Diego Parks Map (List of open parks, PDF)
    County of San Diego Parks and Recreation
    From the coast to the mountains and the valleys to the desserts, County Parks maintains nearly 50,000 acres of land for public use.
  • Volunteer at Cabrillo National Monument NPS
    https://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/volunteer.htm
  • Take a virtual trip.The San Diego Zoo has live stream video cameras that let you catch a number of the zoo’s inhabitants—from koalas to penguins to the new baby orangutan.

    Tuna Crabs, SD Creature Project
    Tuna Crabs found at Ocean Beach Dog Beach (not often though).
  • Do a bit of your own park cleaning. There’s a hiking rule of thumb – leave it cleaner than you found it. If you see any trash put it in a trash can.

See you out there!


Follow Us to Find Out More Cool Creature Stuff!

The San Diego Creature Project is an animated children’s program created by kids, for kids. Follow three brothers, their cousin, and their dog Ryan as they solve creature mysteries with science and learn about life in Southern California.


Sources

National Elephant Appreciation Day

National Elephant Appreciation Day is Sept 22

Ok, ok, there aren’t wild elephants in San Diego, but National Elephant Appreciation Day gives us two things that we love to talk about. First, is elephants. They’re really cool creatures. And second, is the San Diego Zoo – we love to visit, and they have elephants!

National Elephant Appreciation Day - baby elephant
Elephant family.

Cool Elephant facts

  • Did you know that there is more than one kind of elephant? The San Diego Zoo is home to three elephants. Mary and Devi are Asian elephants and Shaba is an African elephant. 
  • What is the largest land animal on earth today? Yep, African Elephants! At 8 to 13 ft (2.4 to 3.9 m) at the shoulder and weighing 2.5 to 7 tons, African Elephants are the largest land animals in the world.
  • Did you know that elephants use their ears like air conditioners? Those big ears have lots of blood vessels. As their blood circulates it’s cooled when it goes through their flapping ears. This helps to cool the rest of them down.
  • How does an elephant’s trunk work? An elephant’s trunk is a prehensile upper lip (or a really long lip that’s kind of like a hand, it can grab and hold things). It also has about 40–60,000 muscles. They use it for smelling, touching, feeding, drinking, spraying water, dusting, producing sounds, loading, defending and attacking. Cool!

Language Exposure

  • English: Elephant
  • Spanish: elefante
  • Hindi: हाथी haathee
National Elephant Appreciation Day
African Elephant

See elephants live on the San Diego Zoo’s Elephant camera.

African Bush Elephant Conservation

Today the African Bush Elephants’ status is listed as Vulnerable by IUCN. This means that they are a high risk of becoming extinct in the wild. African elephants are protected in all the countries of their geographic range. They’re also protected under international environmental agreements, CITES and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species.

African Bush Elephant Stats

Description: Large land mammals with a nose/upper lip modified into a trunk and teeth modified into tusks
Size: 8 to 13 ft (2.4 to 3.9 m) tall at the shoulder
Weight: 6.00 t (6.61 short tons)
Habitat: Variety of habitats, including subtropical and temperate forests, dry and seasonally flooded grasslands and woodlands, wetlands and agricultural land from sea level to mountain slopes
Range: Sub-Saharan Africa
Diet:  Herbivorous – mainly grasses, creepers and herbs.
Fascinating Fact: Cool ears!  An elephant’s ears are a like an air conditioner. As elephants flap their ears on a hot day, the blood flowing through the many blood vessels in the ears is cooled. If they have just splashed around in a river, all the better! This ear flapping behavior cools their large bodies on warm days.

Status: Vulnerable

Scientific Classification

Elephant skin, close up.
Elephant skin, close up.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantoidea
Genus: Elephantidae
Species: Loxodonta africana

The San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are outdoor destinations and are open. Check with the zoo’s website for official details. https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/


Follow Us to Find Out More Cool Creature Stuff!

The San Diego Creature Project is an animated children’s program created by kids, for kids. Follow three brothers, their cousin, and their dog Ryan as they solve creature mysteries with science and learn about life in Southern California.


Sources

National Moth Week Kids Coloring Pages

Moth Coloring Pages

We’re Celebrating National Moth Week 2020 with Kids Coloring Pages!

Yep, National Moth Week 2020 from July 18 to July 26. But you can download these free kids coloring pages anytime. Go to the Leirigh Films store for the Moth Coloring Pages!

Moth Coloring Pages
Moth Coloring Pages

They feature five different moths that can be found in San Diego.

  • Achemon Sphinx, a large, heavy-bodied moth with a wing span of about 3.5 inches (9 cm). The forewings are pinkish/brown with a squarish dark spot along the edge, while the hindwings are mostly pink, with brownish markings along the edges.
  • Mexican Tiger Moth, a small moth with a wing span of about 0.78 inches (2 cm). They have geometric black shapes on their creamy white wings.
  • Five-spotted Hawkmoth, with a wingspan of up to 5 5/16 inches (13.5 cm) this is a big moth.  On their abdomen they have five, sometimes six, pairs of yellow bands.
  • Western Sheepmoth, are highly variable with yellow-orange to cream to pink with black markings. They have a wingspan of up to 3 7/16 inches (8.7 cm).
  • Polyphemus Moth, another large moth with a wingspan of up to 5 7/8 inches (15 cm). Their upperside is reddish to yellowish brown with some parts pink, or black and pink. Clear oval eyespots are ringed with yellow, blue, and black.

Go to the Leirigh Films store to download the Moth Coloring Pages for FREE!

Creature Project: Inchworms on the Tomato Plants

Curious about a butterfly or moth? You can go to Butterflies & Moths of North America and find out more.

For more information on National Moth Week 2020.


Follow Us to Find Out More Cool Creature Stuff!

The San Diego Creature Project is an animated children’s program created by kids, for kids. Follow three brothers, their cousin, and their dog Ryan as they solve creature mysteries with science and learn about life in Southern California.


 

San Diego Creature Project