Thursday, July 30, 2009

Birds and Bees and Ice Cream .. oh my!!

Wow! What a busy day we've had at the museum! As some of you might know, every Thursday and Friday of the summer we have a different themed Drop-in-Day. Today was called The Birds and the Bees!
Right from the start Joe Joyce, meteorologist from NECN gave a really informative talk about the weather and all the things that go along with it.

As New England weather would have it, as soon as he started talking about thunder and rain it started to pour!! We had to put our events on hold for about a half hour and then it passed. Gotta love New England!

Thankfully the rain passed and soon we were all back outside with Jeani Warish from the Bristol County Beekeepers Association learning all about honeybees! She had a sample of bees from her own personal hive in a observation glass, busy at work. Jeani was super informative! We learned all about the differences in bees, how they work and what they do!

Here's some quick fun facts:

- Sugar water is the closest thing we have to nectar, that's what beekeepers feed their honeybees!

- Honey stays good forever!

- If you take one teaspoon of LOCAL (it's important that it's locally produced/colonized honey) everyday starting in February you will notice a decline in your pollen allergies. Wow! A spoonful of honey is also good for coughs and sore throats ... and it tastes good!

- A honey bee takes 21 days to hatch.

- Male honey bees are called drones and their main purpose in life is to mate.

- Every fall the female honey bees kick all the drones out of the hive!
- In the wild, bees make their hives into what is called Burr comb and it usually takes only 24 hours!

There was a taste test too for anyone that wanted to try it. Which do you prefer: acacia honey or blossom honey? I liked the acacia honey the best, and so did mostly everyone else! It was not as strong as the blossom honey, but if you really want some kick to your honey I would definitely recommend blossom! It's super sweet!

Some of the museum volunteers and interns were helping the kids make their own bees and pinwheels to take home out of everyday, household materials. There were some pretty creative bees flying out of there!

The best part of the day was when we got to see four honey bees being hatched!! It was so cool and takes about 20 minutes for the whole process. The queen bee puts the eggs into the little caves of the honey comb and the other bees (called nurse bees) cover them up and keep them safe until it's time for them to hatch. When their 21 days are up they eat their way out of the cave and then out they come! It was amazing! Thanks Jeani for bringing them to us :) Thanks also to Haagen-Dazs for donating free seed packets for everyone to take home and plant their own bee-friendly flowers!

That's not all though (I told you we were busy today!)! at 1:00 Marla Isaac from the New England Reptile and Raptor Exhibits came and gave an en"rapture"ing presentation about Birds of Prey!

We learned all about the different kinds of birds of prey there are (owls, falcons and hawks were at this presentation!). And we got to meet some pretty cool birds, like Rufus the red-shouldered hawk and Mo the red-tailed hawk.
Here are some more fun facts:

-Raptors are a type of bird of prey that has talons.
-All birds of prey are protected by law ... which means you, CANNOT hunt them, hurt them, or capture them.
-A short-winged hawk only eats birds that are diseased or dying.

-Once a bird of prey learns something (like in falconry) they don't forget it.

-Vultures can smell up to 12 miles away!

-Turkey vultures only started showing up in Massachusetts 10-12 years ago! Now they stick out the winters on Martha's Vineyard!

After all that the Museum gave out some free, delicious ice cream and Italian ice! Yum!!

It's been such a great day at the museum! Tomorrow is A Pirate's Life for Me!, which promises to be just as exciting! Thanks for dropping by and until then, don't forget to check out our website for more information on all the Drop-in-Days!

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