Birds are animal with feathers. Because they can fly, they are the fastest animals on Earth. Some birds can reach speeds of up to 160km an hour. However, not all birds can fly. Some birds, like ostriches can run and penguins can swim.
There are about 10,000 kinds of birds. The smallest bird is the hummingbird, which gets only about 5cm , and the largest one is the ostrich, which may grow up to 2.5 meters tall. Birds live everywhere in the world—from the cold Polar Regions to the rain forests of Africa.
There are birds, like ducks or seagulls that always live near water. Many birds from colder areas migrate to warmer regions to avoid harsh winters, but others stay in their living area all through the year.
All birds hatch from eggs. Female birds lay their eggs in nests that they build. Baby birds remain in the nest for several weeks or months after hatching. Their parents feed them and care for them until they are old enough to leave them.
Birds belong to the group of animals that have backbones, like we do. These animals are called vertebrates. Like mammals, birds are warm-blooded – their temperature always stays the same, even if it is cold outside. Birds don't have teeth, they have a hard beak that they use to get food or defend themselves.
A bird has a light but strong skeleton and bones that are hollow. Many of them are joined together. The strongest muscles are in the wings. These powerful wings help birds stay in the air. Feathers cover most of a bird's body. Some birds have up to 25,000 feathers. In many types of birds the feathers are brightly coloured in order to attract other birds. Birds lose their feathers at least once a year. They grow new ones – mostly during the breeding season.
The bills or beaks of birds are built differently, depending on what they eat. Woodpeckers have a chisel-like bill, so they can bore into trees and look for insects. Ducks have flat bills because they eat plants that float in the water.
In order to fly, birds need a lot of oxygen, so they need a powerful heart to get it into their lungs. A bird's heart beats much faster than ours does – up to 1000 times a minute.
The Great Pyramid at Giza is one of the world's most amazing landmarks. Rising high above the Sahara Desert in the Giza region of northern Egypt, the Great Pyramid stands some 450 feet into the burning desert sky and occupies of an area of 13 acres. The rough climate of the Sahara has actually caused the pyramid to shrink 30 feet from its original height. The pyramid was such an amazing feat of engineering, that it remained the tallest structure in the world for over 3800 years! The entire pyramid was originally faced with polished limestone to make it shine brilliantly in the sun. Most Egyptologists, scientists who study ancient Egypt, agree that the Great Pyramid was built around 2560 BC, a little more than 4,500 years ago. It took tens of thousands of workers twenty years to build. The pyramid contains over two million stone blocks. Although most of the blocks weigh two or three tons, some weigh up to 80 tons! The Great Pyramid of Giza was ordered built by the Pharaoh Khufu as a magnificent tomb. His vizier (advisor) Hemon is credited with being the pyramid's architect. Khufu's pyramid is actually part of a complex of pyramids that includes the Pyramid of Khafre, the smaller Pyramid of Menkaure, a variety of smaller pyramids and structures, and the Great Sphinx. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the last remaining of the Seven Wonders of the World
Modern life is impossible without travelling. True, we often get tired of the same surroundings and daily routine. Hence some relaxation is essential to restore our mental and physical resources. That is why the best place of relaxation, in my opinion, is the one where you have never been before. And it is by means of travelling that you get to that place. To understand how true it is you’ve got to go to a railway station, a sea or a river port or an airport. There you are most likely to see hundreds of people hurrying to board a train, a ship or a plane. To be on the safe side and to spare yourself the trouble of standing long hours in the line, you’d better book tickets in advance. All you have to do is to ring up the airport or the railway station booking office and they will send your ticket to your place. And, of course, before getting off you have to make your preparations. You should settle all your business and visit your friends and relatives. On the eve of your departure comes you call a taxi and go to the airport or the railway station. For some time you stay in the waiting-room. If you are hungry you take some refreshments. In some time the loud speaker announces that the train or the plane is in and the passengers are invited to take their seats. If you travel by train you find your carriage, enter the corridor and find your berth. It may be a lower berth, which is more convenient or an upper one. You put your suitcase into a special box under the lower seat. Then you arrange your smaller packages on the racks. In some the train starts off. Travelling by train is slower than by plane, but it has its advantages. You can see the country you are travelling through and enjoy the beautiful nature. It may be an express train or a passenger one.
There is no doubt it’s much more convenient to travel by an express train, because it does not stop at small stations and it takes you less time to get to your destination.
Travelling to England.
One of these days you may find it possible to visit England. From the moment you go on board the ship that is to take you to an English port, or the airliner that is to fly you to London, you will see signs and notices that will give you useful information and warnings. Here are some examples and explanations that will help you. If you come by air, you will see, when you take your seat in the plane, a notice that says: NO SMOKING; FASTEN SEAT-BELTS. Smoking is forbidden while the plane is on the ground, while it is taking off, and until it has risen to a good height. Fasten to the sides of your seat are two leather belts or straps. The ends of these must be fastened together so that the belt is across your lap. When the plane is well up in the air, the light behind this notice is switched off. You are then allowed to smoke and may unfasten your seat-belt. The notice will appear again when the plane is about to touch down. If you come by steamer, you will see numerous notices. There will perhaps be arrows to show you which parts of the ship are for first-class passengers and which parts are for tourists-class passengers. Large rooms in a ship are called saloons, so when you see DINING-SALOON you know where to go when it is time for lunch. You may see a notice TO THE BOAT DECK. This is the deck where you will find the boats that can be lowered to the water if there is any danger of the ship sinking. On the boat deck you may see some steps going up to the bridge, where the ship’s officers are on duty. Here there will probably be a notice: PASSENGERS NOT ALLOWED ON THE BRIDGE. When your steamer gets into harbor at Dover, or Harwich, or Southampton, or any of the other ports to which steamers sail, you will see more notices. When you land, you will see a notice: TO THE CUSTOMS. When you enter the Customs shed the officer there will give you a printed notice. This will warn you that you must declare to the Customs officer the quantities of tobacco, cigars, cigarettes and alcoholic drinks that you have with you. Unless you are dishonest, the Customs officer will not keep you long. He will chalk your suitcases and bags, and you will pass on. There will be a notice telling you where your passport will be examined. Then you can follow the arrow that says, TO THE TRAINS, and you will soon be in the railway station where the train is waiting to take you to London.
The usual meals are breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. Breakfast is generally a bigger meal than you have on the Continent, though some English people like a “continental” breakfast of rolls and butter and coffee. But the usual English breakfast is porridge or “corn flakes” with milk or cream and sugar, bacon and eggs, marmalade (made from oranges) with buttered toast, and tea or coffee. For a change you can have a boiled egg, cold ham, or perhaps fish. We generally have lunch about one o’clock. The businessman in London usually finds it impossible to come home for lunch, and so he goes to a cafe or restaurant; but if I am making lunch at home I have cold meat (left over probably from yesterday’s dinner), potatoes, salad and pickles, with a pudding or fruit to follow. Sometimes we have a mutton chop, or steak and chips, followed by biscuits and cheese, and some people like a glass of light beer with lunch. Afternoon tea you can hardly call a meal, but it is a sociable sort of thing, as friends often come in then for a chat while they have their cp of tea, cake or biscuits. In some houses dinner is the biggest meal of the day. We had rather a special one last night, as we had an important visitor from South America to see Mr. Priestley. We began with soup, followed by fish, roast chicken, potatoes and vegetables, a sweet, fruit and nuts. Then we went into sitting-room for coffee and cigarettes. But in my house, as in a great many English homes, we make the midday meal the chief one of the day, and in the evening we have the much simpler dinner – an omelet, or sausages, sometimes bacon and eggs and sometimes just bread and cheese, a cup of coffee or cocoa and fruits. But uncle Albert always has “high tea”. He says he has no use for these “afternoon teas” where you try to hold a cup of tea in one hand and a piece of bread and butter about as thin as a sheet of paper in the other. He’s a Lancashire man, and nearly everyone in Lancashire likes high tea. They have it between five and six o’clock, and they have ham or tongue and tomatoes and salad, or sausages, with good strong tea, plenty of bread and butter, then stewed fruit, or a tin of pears, apricots or pineapple with cream or custard and pastries or a good cake. And that’s what they call a good tea.
This three-month-old restaurant has attracted attention because it is a restored, one hundred fifty-year-old mill. The decor is charming and warm in an Early American, country style. Although the tables and chairs are modern reproductions, there are enough authentic antique pieces at the entrance and on the walls to avoid the fake Disneyland look of some restorations. The menu is also very American, though it is a bit too traditional for my taste. The menu also is very extensive, which always worries me because a large menu often means a large freezer. Although my dinner companions and I chose some things from the regular menu, we usually chose one of the day’s specials. The most delicious main course we tried was the country stew which consisted of potatoes, carrots, peas, mushrooms, very tender beef, and – surprise! – some smoked pork sausage. Because top quality beef was used, it was unusually good. Among other well-prepared main courses was the fried chicken because it wasn’t cooked before and then re-heated. It was fresh and crisp. The vegetables that came with the main courses were fresh but overcooked. The only exception was the string beans which were green and crisp (a mistake?). Because the main courses are so large, there is really no need for an appetizer or soup. But for big eaters I can recommend the mixed salad. The clam chowder was tasty because it was home-made but it had no special distinction. The oysters on the half-shell were nicely served on a bed of ice, although I would prefer to have a better sauce for them. If you can still eat dessert after all this plus rather good home-made bread and creamery butter, try the apple pie. The apples were juicy and firm and the pastry was light. It’s hard to judge the service at this friendly restaurant. Because it was so crowded when I went, usually at 8 o’clock service was slow. The Reservation system doesn’t always work. On one occasion, someone took our reservation for dinner but didn’t have it when we arrived. This kind of thing can damage a restaurant’s reputation, although its food may be good.