Author Archives: Abdul Wahab

Cardinal

Cardinals are the small sized birds with the red colored body. The most famous species of cardinal is the northern cardinal. Cardinals are named after the Catholic leader, who wears bright red clothes. Cardinals communicate with each other by singing songs. Also, the males of one nest warn other males by singing a song. Male cardinals are very defensive for their nests; they readily fight with other males. Sometimes they start fighting with their own reflections.

What do they look like?

Northern cardinals are covered with red colored feathers, but their face is black colored. They have a strong beak and a long tail. They can grow to a height of 9 inches and can weigh as much as 48 grams. They have the wingspan about 30 cm.
cardinal-bird

Diet

Cardinals mostly go for searching food during dawn and dusk. They like to eat insects, fruits, and the seeds. They use their strong beak to dig out the insects from the bushes of the trees.

cardinal-eating-sunflower-seed

Cardinal eating sunflower seed.

Habitat

Cardinals prefer to live in forests and build their nests in the thick and dense bushes. They usually build nests in the middle of bushes to avoid its predators, e.g. owls, dogs, cats, and snakes. When a predator tries to come closer to their nest, both male and female try to scare it. Cardinals are the common birds of US.

cardinal-nest-with-eggs

Nest of Northern cardinals with their eggs.

Conservation Status

The population of cardinals is stable. But human caused activities are harming their habitat e.g. destruction of forests for the need of land.

Fun Facts

  • Cardinals have the ability to sing 24 different songs.
  • Both male and female cardinal take care of their babies together.
  • Female and baby cardinal often sing a song to tell the males that they need food.

Bald Eagle

Bald eagles are very popular sea eagles in the US because they are the national birds of US. Bald eagles are not actually bald. The word bald is a modification of an old English word “balde” that means white. They are identified by their white head with a yellow beak. They are the largest raptors and sits on the top of the food chain.
bald-eagle

What do they look like?

Bald eagles are the largest raptors that weigh around 9-15 pounds. Females are bigger and heavier than the males. Bald eagles have brown colored feathers on their bodies. They have a white head, yellow beak, and white tail. They are about 3 feet long, but their wingspan is up to 6 feet wide.
bald-eagle-looking

Diet

Bald eagles are carnivores (meat eater). They hunt down smaller animals including fishes and birds for their food. They mostly hunt salmon fish, rabbits, and ducks etc. Bald eagles are excellent hunters with very good eye sight. They fly high in the sky and watch for prey. When the prey is spotted, they dive very fast with a speed of 160 km/h towards it and catch it with their sharp talons.
bald-eagle-catching-food

Habitat

Bald eagles are found the 50 states of US. They prefer to live near lakes or oceans where they can find food easily. They make their nests in the trees near the oceans or lakes.

bald-eagle-nest

Conservation Status

Bald eagles are not endangered species in these days. However, in 1967, overhunting had brought them near extinction. But thanks to the good conservation efforts and laws made to protect bald eagles. Their population has increased very much in 40 years. They are now out of endangered species list and are placed in the least concerned species list.

Fun Facts

  • Bald eagles can fly to great heights up to 10,000 feet.
  • Bald eagle is the national symbol of US, and it is also on the seal of the president of US.
  • The nests of bald eagles can be at the depth of 13 feet and can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds.

Silver

silver-symbol

  • Symbol: Ag
  • Atomic Number: 47
  • Atomic Weight: 107.8
  • Melting Point: 961 °C (1763 °F)
  • Boiling Point: 2162 °C (3924 °F)
  • Discovered by: Known since ancient time.

Silver is one of the precious metals found in the Earth’s crust. It is very famous metal like gold and is known by almost every people living on the Earth. People have been using silver from thousands of years ago. They mostly used silver for making jewelry and artworks. Silver is classified as a transitional element in the periodic table. It has 47 protons and 60 neutrons in its nucleus. Its symbol is ‘Ag’ which is derived from the Latin word “Argentum”.
silver-element

Characteristics and Properties

  • Silver is a white metallic colored, lustrous, and soft metal.
  • It is the very good conductor of electricity; better than all the metals.
  • It is highly malleable and ductile metal, but lesser than gold.
  • It doesn’t react with air. It is corrosion resistant metal.

Uses

Silver has wide areas of usage. It has been used by humans from thousands of years ago. Let’s see some of its uses.

  • Silver is the very good conductor of electricity; it is used by electronic industries to build very efficient circuits.
  • It is used for medical purposes, e.g. used to fill cavities of teeth by dentists.
  • It is used for making jewelry.
  • Used for making long lasting batteries (these batteries are expensive).

Where is it found?

Silver is rare element relative to other elements. This rarity also makes it the precious metal. It is not a very reactive element, so it found in its pure form and also in some minerals, e.g. argentite. The major silver producing countries are China, Peru, and Mexico.

argentite

Argentite

Discovery

Silver is one of the elements that is known to mankind since ancient time. Archaeologists have found many artifacts from ruined cities that were 5000 years old. These artifacts are made of silver metal and its alloys.

ancient-silver-coin

Ancient silver coins

Facts

  • Silver was once used for making coins. These coins were used as currency much like the nickel coins of today.
  • Silver was once the main ingredient for photography. Photographic plates were immersed in silver nitrate solution. (see invention of the camera for more information)
  • Silver is germicide, means it can kill bacteria. But, silver metal is not toxic for humans.

Platinum

platinum-symbol

  • Symbol: Pt
  • Atomic Number: 78
  • Atomic Weight: 195
  • Melting Point: 1768 °C (3215 °F)
  • Boiling Point: 3825 °C (6917 °F)
  • Discovered by: South Americans

Platinum is one of the most precious metals found on the Earth. It is more valuable and rare metal than silver and gold. It looks very pretty and shiny that attract people attention when used in jewelry.  Platinum is classified as a transition metal in the periodic table. It is located in 10th column and 3rd row of the periodic table. Its nucleus contains 78 protons and 117 neutrons.
platinum-element

Characteristics and Properties

  • Platinum is a silvery-white and shiny metal.
  • It is a very dense element.
  • It is highly malleable and ductile metal.
  • It has good catalytic properties.
  • It is corrosion resistant and rust free.

Uses

Platinum is a very useful element, but since it is very rare on the Earth its uses are limited by its supply. Some uses of platinum are:

  • Platinum is used as a form of currency; it has high value due to its rarity.
  • Due to its luster and corrosion resistant property, it is used for making jewelry.
    platinum-ring
  • It is used as a catalyst in many chemical reactions, e.g. Hydrogen-fuel cells.
  • It is used for medical purposes including dental work.
  • It is used by automobile industries.

Where is it found?

Platinum is very rare metal, which makes it difficult to find in the crust. Since platinum is not a reactive element, which makes it available in its pure form in nature. The largest producers of platinum are South Africa and Russia. South Africa supplies about 68% of total platinum produced in the world.

Discovery

Platinum was first found and used by the South Americans. They used to make jewelry and art from the platinum without knowing that it is entirely different metal from the silver.

Platinum was first discovered by William Hyde Wollaston. He was an English chemist who isolated the platinum to its pure elemental form. Platinum got its name from the Spanish language word “Platina”, means “silver”.

Facts

  • Platinum is 3rd densest metal found on the Earth.
  • It is the second most ductile metal after the gold.
  • The name platinum is often used with awards which are ranked higher.
  • The worldwide production of platinum is about 160 tons. Compare them with the production of gold, which is about 2500 tons each year.

Oxygen

oxygen-symbol

  • Symbol: O
  • Atomic Number: 8
  • Atomic Weight: 16
  • Melting Point: -218 °C (-361 °F)
  • Boiling Point: -183 °C (-297 °F)
  • Discovered by: W Scheele and Joseph Priestly independent of each other.

Oxygen is a vital element for all the living things on Earth. Almost all the living things need the oxygen to survive and stay alive (except few). Oxygen has transformed our Earth from deserted planet to a green planet. It is the most abundant element in the human body and 3rd most abundant element in the universe.
oxygen-atom

Characteristics and Properties

  • Oxygen is a diatomic, colorless, and odorless gas under normal conditions.
  • Oxygen is a reactive gas, it easily reacts with iron and other metals to make them rusty.
  • It can dissolve in the water easily. Marine life is dependent on the dissolved oxygen in the water.

Uses

Oxygen is used by animals and plants for respiration. Besides respiration, it has a lot of other uses in industrial, military, and medical applications. Some uses of oxygen are:

  • It is used by NASA in the rockets to efficiently burn the fuel.
  • It is used for breathing underwater and in space.
  • Hospitals use oxygen tanks to supply oxygen to the patients.
  • It is used in the production of plastics, water filtration, and extraction of metal from their ores.

Where is it found?

As you know, oxygen is freely available in the atmosphere that we breathe. Our atmosphere contains about 21% oxygen. The upper atmosphere has a layer of ozone (triatomic oxygen) that protect us from cancer causing rays of the Sun.

atmosphere-composition

Atmosphere Composition

Besides the atmosphere, oxygen is the major constituent of water by weight. All the water you see in the oceans and the water that you drink is made of hydrogen and oxygen (H2O).
ocean

So is that over? No!

The sand that you walk on is compound called silicon dioxide. It has oxygen as a major constituent by the number of atoms.
sand-dune

So that means, we humans are breathing-in, stepping-on, and drinking the oxygen and its compounds from our beginning. Wow! What a miraculous element.

Discovery

Oxygen was known to man from early time because human have been breathing oxygen and burning fire for food and heat. But, it was considered as a separate element when C.W. Scheele discovered a gas that increased the burning rate of fire. He named this gas “Fire air” due to increased burning of fire. But, Scheele was unable to publish research. Another British scientist named Joseph Priestley discovered the oxygen independently, without knowing about the Scheele’s discovery.

Facts

  • The liquid form of oxygen has the blue
  • Our Earth has the highest percentage of oxygen in the solar system.
  • The most abundant element in our body is oxygen.
  • The main oxygen producers are plants. They produce oxygen in a process called photosynthesis.