Category Archives: Nature

Hummingbird Travels

Male Rufous Hummingbird (Hummingbirds.net)

 

This is taken from a Netlines newsletter article by Fred Dietrich, bird bander, published by the Hummer/Bird Study Group in 2009.  (I copied the page but forgot to copy the date.)  Pretty cool stuff!

A female Rufous hummingbird that was banded on January 13, 2010 in Tallahassee, Florida, was recaptured on June 28, 2010 in Chenega Bay, Alaska, in Prince William Sound.  This is an incredible 3,523-mile straight-line distance from where she was banded only six months before!

This recapture is by far the longest distance ever recorded for an species of hummingbird between the banding and recapture site.  The previous record was a bird that was recaptured on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, after being banded in Lafayette, Louisiana, about 2,200 miles.

This 3.7 gram bird, about 1/8 of an ounce, was only 6 months old when she took off from Alaska, heading for her wintering grounds.  She was completely on her own, no experience to rely on, no flock of hummingbirds to fly with (they don’t flock), and no mom to follow on this long round-trip journey of more than 7,000 miles.  At the time she was recaptured, she was just completing her first year of life and appeared no worse for the wear, other than being covered with pollen from flowers she had been feeding on, getting ready to begin her next migration cycle.

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Galaxy Zoo

Way back when, did you ever want to be an astronaut?  How about an astronomer?  Remember watching the stars on a cool clear night?  Or looking for shooting stars?  Did you ever talk to the man in the moon?   If you had a chance to be an astronomer now, without going through the years of training, would you do it?  Check out   http://www.galaxyzoo.org/.  The Galaxy Zoo project gives us regular folks a chance to help astronomers explore the universe!

Check it out!

Lady in Red

Just a typical day.  Errands and more errands.  You know how those days are.  Plus trying to get everything done so I can watch the Celtics game mid-afternoon.  And it’s my night to cook dinner.  But everything’s on track so far.  My last stop – Kroger’s.  I found a primo parking space, speed-walk inside, reach for a cart and WHAM!  A bird flew into the window at full speed.  The stiff wind probably helped it along too.  I didn’t want the poor thing to get run over, so I ditched the cart and went outside to stand guard over it.  It was a female cardinal.  Down here they call them "redbirds."  I didn’t have much hope for her recovering.  Sometimes they just get stunned, but most of the time they break their neck or worse, get a concussion.  If the concussion is bad enough – and it usually is – they don’t make it, but it takes a while for them to die.  This one was laying on her back.  She was still breathing and blinking her eyes, but it didn’t look good.  Then after 5 minutes or so, she flipped over onto her feet and tried to fly.  No go.  So she just sat there.  After a while her eyes began to close – not a good sign.  Minutes passed.  Then she started opening her eyes, but she didn’t try to fly.  You know those grocery store parking lots – no grass or trees anywhere close by.  I figured she might do better if I could get her out of the stiff wind and near grass and trees.  In other words, my back yard.  And if she died, I could give her a decent burial.  Another shopper offered to watch over her while I went to my car to get a box to carry her in.  Cardinals can bite very, very hard, so I was cautious when I picked her up.  She didn’t try to bite me, for which I was grateful.  I put her in the box and drove her to my house.  When I took of the lid of the box she flew right into our stand of azaleas!  Yay!  Hopefully she has recovered and has discovered our bird feeders and water.  And made some new friends!

Snow!

Finally!  We got a light dusting of snow this morning here in Mississippi.  It looked so beautiful, but it didn’t last long. 

I know most of you are probably tired of seeing snow. But if you want to revive your love for snow crystals, here’s a web site that’s an absolute must-view:  http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/.  Some of you saw it last year, but it’s worth another look.  Check it out!