Category Archives: Animals

Baby Robin Update: Days 7, 8

Time flies! But the baby robins aren’t yet. Nevertheless, they are growing and the most amazing thing is the feather development!

Baby Robins, Day 7, early morning. They usually are sleeping until at least 9am.

Day 7, wing development.

Baby Robins, Day 8. Good morning! "Where's breakfast?"

Day 8, headfeathers coming in.

Day 8, feathers up close. See that tiny toe peeking out?

Day 8, another look at the feather development.

Baby Robin Update: Days 5 & 6

Day 6: Early morning

The robins continue to develop and grow. It is remarkable to observe the rate at which they change.

Day 5, Morning

Day 5: Eye slits getting bigger, heads darkening.

Day 5: Feed me!

Day 6: Feathers developing

Day 6: Eye slits widening

Day 6: Lunchtime

Day 6: notice the eye slit starting to open! Gotta love the tufts of fluff on the top of the head.

Baby Robins

We have a nest of robins in the Star Magnolia bush right by our front porch. I’ve been taking some photos (trying not to upset the mom too much). Usually just one per day. Three eggs hatched on Friday, the final egg was hatched on Saturday. On Sunday, you can see that the eye slits are starting to develop. Stay tuned!

The four eggs in the nest. This nest was re-used from last year. The "outer" nest was lined with some new material.

On Friday, April 27, we found that 3 of the eggs had hatched!

On Saturday, April 28th, the fourth (and final) egg hatched! You can see the difference in size. The last to hatch is at "7 o'clock" in the nest.

On day 3, you can see the eye slits developing.

Here you can see the back of the head, the back of the body, fluffy down, and where the feathers will emerge from.

Alpaca Love (or, In Which I Have a Crush on a Camelid)

This is a slightly modified cross-post of one of my photo-journals from the NC Life and Science Museum’s Animal Keeper Blog (where I also blog).

Sherry Samuels and I recently visited the Carolina Alpaca Celebration to learn a bit about alpacas. Neither one of us really knew what to expect. We learned about their husbandry, their birthing needs, their food requirements, and just how many things you can make out of alpaca wool. I learned they are part of the camelid family (and yes, they can spit like camels and llamas, although I didn’t see one spit the whole day). But the best thing we learned is that THEY ARE DARN CUTE and THEY TALK TO YOU (well, sort of). In short, we like them. In fact, I even learned how to kiss an alpaca.

Isn't that an adorable face? We were surprised by the size of these camelids. They were smaller than we anticipated.


I told you I learned how to kiss an alpaca. This is "Overture" and he is one friendly alpaca.


This one looks like a hipster alpaca. There are two types of alpacas: Huacaya (wha-ky-a) and Suri. The Huacaya has the dense, fluffy fleece and the Suri has the dreadlocks look going on. Both types of fleece are extremely soft.

As soon as we walked into the building, we were greeted by the most surreal and sweet sound– an alpaca humming. They seem to talk to you, but in a quiet, hum.

What does a bear cave look like?

At the Museum of Life and Science, I sometimes get to go into the bear yard (when the bears are in the bearhouse). After scooping LOTS of bear poo, I explored the bear cave in the cliff where the bears like to sleep. Here’s what they see, and what it looks like inside their snug hideout.

Me, snuggled up in the back of the cave. The bears take up more room than me! I had to be careful because they had left LOTS of bear poo in there near the sides of the entrance.

View from inside the bear cave, looking out to the rest of the exhibit. See the bearhouse in the distance?

Gordon the Crested Gecko

One of the perks of working with the Life and Science Museum Animal Department is getting to handle so many animals. I absolutely adore this little crested gecko. He dropped his tail this year (after an injury at the base of the tail) and we’ve all been watching it regrow a bit. Crested geckos who drop their tails do not fully regrow them (as some other lizards do). However, his little stump has definitely elongated. Alas, no matter how much it regrows, he will not regain the pad of lamellae that he had on the flattened tip of his prehensile tail. I plan to start to take weekly photos of the regrowth and do a timelapse of it at some point. In the meantime, I’m intrigued by his feet and eyes. I still need to bring in a tripod and do a proper photo shoot, but here’s some of his cuteness (on my finger!)

Behind-the-Scenes Museum animals

This post, by Museum of Life + Science Animal Keeper Kimberly, provides a glimpse into one of the behind-the-scene areas that I help out with at the museum–the Education Holding Room (EHR). Each of the animals has such a personality! Be sure to click through to see the original post and pics of all the animals.

Gordon, our crested gecko (and one of my favorites)

Did you know that I also tweet for the museum? Follow the fun at @lifeandscience!

Gecko Feet

I’ve got some things to say about geckos and their wonderful feet. But for now, please take a moment to gaze at just how marvelous (& artistic) they look.

Gecko Feet

Photo used with permission. Original link.

Bear Feeding at NC Museum of Life & Science

This is a reposting of my post at the Animal Keepers blog on the NC Museum of Life and Science website.

Every now and then the Museum offers special opportunities for Members to experience some behind-the-scenes aspects of life at the museum. This past Sunday, Animal Department Director Sherry Samuels led an enthusiastic group of parents and children down to the bear exhibit to help feed the bears (I tagged along and took some photos). Normally, visitors are never allowed to feed any of the animals! Each animal has a special diet which must be followed for their health and wellness. So this was a very special opportunity to not only observe and learn about the 5 bears who live here, but to also help feed them by tossing in the fruit, nuts, and vegetables that Sherry gave the participants. The bears gave quite a show and demonstrated many of the behaviors that the keepers regularly observe, but which members may not have seen before. Check out this schedule and then register to join us for a future Bear Feeding! The next one is a morning feeding on Sunday, April 17th.

The group walked down to the Bear Overlook after the museum closed.

The kids loved tossing in nuts, apples, sweet potatoes, and a few other goodies for the bears to eat.

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