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In the past I've posted an end of the year list of my favorite photographs. This year let's mix it up with a matching quiz. Can you match the adult insect with its immature stage or something associated with it? If you want to, leave your results in the comments. Bonus points for correct identifications. Note: Not all letters have been used. All the photos are from 2020.

Adult Insects:

A. She's a big-eyed beauty on a stick.

B. This mimic may fool you because it resembles another popular insect.

C. Often seen visiting flowers.

D. Flies away to the mountains in the summer.

K. The hardest of all, although the answer is here in the blog.

Now match the adults with their life stages or products.

F.  Has a very specific host plant.

G. Sitting on a tree trunk.

H. Hungry, hungry.

I. What life stage is this?

L. Not an insect, but produced by insects.

Have fun!

(The answers are now posted.)


What do you notice when you see the owl on the cover of the new nonfiction picture book Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls by Annette Whipple? Maybe the huge eyes? What do you think of? The sound they make? Have you ever seen an owl in real life?

The book starts out with these observations and a stirring question:

"You recognize an owl when you hear or see one, but do you really know these birds?"

From there, each double-page spread features gorgeous color photographs with text in a question and answer format. You will find out what owl's eat, how they hunt, whether they sleep during the day, where they live, and what's up with owl pellets. My favorite questions was whether owls can spin their heads around. Do you know the answer?

The formatting is super engaging, with eye-catching design elements and fun dialogue bubbles with cool facts. Great for visual learners.

Here at Growing With Science, we love back matter and the book does not disappoint. There's a section on how to help owls, explanation of owl anatomy, owl pellet dissection discussion, and a glossary. The hardcover version even includes an Owl Superpowers poster, which you can see at Annette's website.

Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls is nonfiction at its best. It will obviously appeal to young birdwatchers and nature lovers, but also to anyone interested in the world around them. Reading it will make you wiser <wink>.

Note for sensitive young readers:  Owls eat small rodents and the book contains pretty graphic photographs of that natural process. There's also a close up of an owl pellet.

This book is part of The Truth About series. Annette tells us there's Woof! The Truth About Dogs and another untitled book about spiders coming next year.


Related Activities:

  1. Owl pellet dissection

We previously talked about owl pellets when we reviewed Melissa Stewart's Bird-acious, a book that comes with an actual owl pellet attached to the cover (see post).

2. Write an Owl Story

Have you ever seen an owl in real life? Write a short story about what you saw and how it made you feel. Do some research and learn more about them to add details to your story. Need help? Check Annette's website for a lesson about the writing process.

If you post your story online, please leave a link in the comments.

For example:

One snowy day while cross-country skiing at a nature preserve in South Dakota, I passed a thicket of pine trees, dark green against the wintry white. A brownish blur passed in front of my face. It was an owl, flying. The stillness of the snow, the peacefulness of the setting, the silence of the owl in flight have all stayed in my mind since that day.

Other owls we have encountered:

We sometimes see small owls called burrowing owls here in Arizona. Because they nest in animal burrows, which have become rare, conservationists have started making artificial tunnels for them to nest in.

What do you think these owls are doing?

great horned owlWhat about this great horned owl? I saw it in a cottonwood tree early one morning. We often hear them calling softly to each other just before dawn.

3. Interested in birds in general? Consider joining the Audubon's 121st Christmas Bird Count which runs from Monday, December 14, 2020 through Tuesday, January 5, 2021. Details at their website.

4. Read more books about birds.

We have a growing list of excellent children's books about birds at Science Books for Kids.

Reading ages : 6 - 10 years
Publisher : Reycraft Books (September 30, 2020)
ISBN-13 : 978-1478869627
ISBN-10 : 1478869623

Disclosure: ARC was provided by the author for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

What's happening on the rush milkweed this week?

No caterpillars yet, but we do have a butterfly.

Recognize this little guy? He has antennae with hooks at the tips and oddly folded wings, so he is a skipper.

Any idea what he may be doing? Let's look from another angle.

This is a flower bud, so he isn't feeding. I don't know if you can tell, but he's positioned so his back is to the sun.

I caught him on several other plants in the same orientation. If it had been a cool morning, I might have suspected he was warming up. However, the temperature is currently in the high 80s Fahrenheit.

It turns out male skippers have dark patches on their wings called androconial scales that release pheromones to attract females. This male is perching and displaying.

This photograph doesn't show it well. You can see the bands on the wings better by scrolling down to the skipper section in this butterfly wing anatomy article.

I also wonder if the teal green color on the thorax might be of significance.

Skipper larvae feed on grass. In our neighborhood more and more of the grass lawns are being replaced with artificial turf, which is good in the desert because it requires less water, but unfortunate for skippers.