Kids

Cowbirds lay eggs in other nests

Photo of chipping sparrow and cowbird egg

Two volunteers were weeding an area and found a small chipping sparrow nest in a low bush. In the nest were three of the sparrow’s bright blue, speckled eggs and another egg that didn’t match. This fourth egg was larger, white and speckled with brown. If you find a similar scenario, you’re looking at a…

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Egg carton butterfly

I saw a funny meme about looking for recipes online and having to click on a post that instead of giving you the list of ingredients instead goes through “When I was senior in college, I walked down the long and misty concrete pathway and across a spring green lawn filled with bright dandelions….” So…

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Bees see in UV

Photo of a bee eye

Bees see the world much differently than humans. It’s not just because they are small but because they see different colors. On the color scale, humans can see the colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. On one end, there is infrared, which humans can’t see, and on the other…

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Hanging opossum craft

Photo of a hanging opossum toilet paper tube

We call them possums, but Iowa actually has opossums. (Debunk some opossum myths here.) We think opossums are pretty adorable, although everyone doesn’t agree, so we wanted to make a fun opossum craft that you can easily replicate at home. All you’ll need is: Empty toilet paper tube Gray construction paper or cardstock Gray marker…

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Opossum myths and facts

Opossum with babies on her back

We call them possums, but Iowa actually has opossums. These adorable creatures live in the western hemisphere and can refer to more than 100 species of animals. Possums are actual creatures as well. There are about 70 different species of possums in Australia, including the pollinating honey possum — read about that here! Opossums are…

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Your mosquito questions answered

Photo of a tiger mosquito

The bane of summer — the mosquito. We all love nice weather, but no one loves this little annoyances that seem to love the heat as well. You probably have plenty of questions, so we’re here to answer just a few. Why do mosquitoes bite? Female mosquitoes bite and take blood, whereas males survive on…

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Wiggle caterpillar puppet

Close-up photo of wiggle caterpillar puppet

We have swallowtail caterpillars in our butterfly enclosure and talked in our kids blog this week about how to tell the difference between them and monarch caterpillars, so it seems only fitting to have a caterpillar craft as well. Caterpillars are fun to watch for many reasons, but one of them is to see the…

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4 keys to telling apart monarch and swallowtail caterpillars

Photo of a black swallowtail caterpillar

We stress that it is important to plant milkweed because it is the only plant that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on and that their caterpillars eat. However, some people have come to us confused that monarch caterpillars are eating the dill in their yard. Taking a closer look though, it’s not monarch caterpillars eating…

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Black squirrels in Iowa

Photo of a fox squirrel

Clubs, businesses, special events — many things in Iowa have been named after the mythic black squirrel. I grew up in eastern Iowa where black squirrels were a common sight and didn’t really think anything about it until moving to northwest Iowa where black squirrels are much less common. Then, my sister-in-law texted me a…

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