Blog Archives

Hummingbird Cam in Action

Happy new year everyone!

Hope yours was wonderful – and here’s something to make it even better. The hummingbird that returns each year to its California rosebush to nest is back, and the camera is a-rollin’! She’s already hatched two eggs, and the babies are just days old. Go to PhoebeAllens.com, where you can also follow Phoebe on FB and Twitter. Look at these little squeeebies!

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(Hang in there through the ads – watching momma and getting a chance to see her babies is totally worth it.)

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The Hummingbirds Are Coming…

Maybe you all aren’t TOTALLY aware of how much I love hummingbirds. “A lot” doesn’t begin to cover it. On a recent camping trip to the Oregon Coast (oh yes, it was cold and wet), the moment I stepped out of the car and approached my carefully chosen campsite, I heard the telltale buzzing of two tiny birds. I didn’t get to lay my eyes on them, and the pair flitted about for a mere second before flying off to explore other campsite options. Like me, I’m sure they chose site H27 for its looming trees, moss-covered stones, and an appropriate distance away from everyone else at the campground.

For most of my friends, hearing hummingbirds is a no-big-deal moment. For me, particularly the first time I hear them for the year, my heart fills up so big I sometimes get a little embarrassed if I’m with company. I was ecstatic. I almost offered to purchase the campground but realized I’m not yet wealthy enough to horde such a beautiful place. But one day. One day.

All that being said, I at least have digital maps to show me where the hummingbirds are hanging out. If you haven’t seen these yet, here are migration maps for my two favorite species: the Ruby-Throated and the Rufous. By clicking on the image below, you’ll be taken to the Learner.org migration maps – the two species are hyperlinked beneath the main title above the map.

My top favorite site for bird information – allaboutbirds.org, maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – has this to say about the Rufous’ annual migration:

“The Rufous Hummingbird makes one of the longest migratory journeys of any bird in the world, as measured by body size. At just over 3 inches long, its roughly 3,900-mile movement (one-way) from Alaska to Mexico is equivalent to 78,470,000 body lengths. In comparison, the 13-inch-long Arctic Tern’s one-way flight of about 11,185 mi is only 51,430,000 body lengths. (AAB)”

Nearly 4,000 miles one way! And besides that, the Rufous is well-known for being the feistiest of all the hummingbirds, bold enough to chase even small mammals away from its territory. All that energy from the nectar of flowers and some insect protein? Outstanding.

Bookmark these maps and check back periodically – it’s fun to see where the birds end up every couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Screen shot taken from Rufous Hummingbird Migration Map, learner.org - click the image to check out their awesome maps!

Very Merry Berry Go Round (#47)

I’m quite ecstatic to be hosting my very first blog carnival, so merry berry to ME! Thanks to the team at BGR!

It’s unseasonably warm for December here in Central Oregon, and this is one naturalist that is not complaining. (Though I have to keep my mouth shut around the skiiers, they’re a testy bunch.) To celebrate the sunshine, we’re going to look at some decidedly warm-timey articles that focus on pollination. Because, dammit, I need flowers in the winter.

Thanks for reading. Away we go!

The Old Drone (love the name!) wants you to know just how fascinating it is that tomatoes are self-pollenizing. Which is different than self-pollinating!

Bug Girl kindly gives a review of the new app for selecting plants for your region, developed with pollinators in mind.

Zen at the NeuroDojo reviews a paper that looks deeper into the idea of flower color as a necessity for pollinator attraction.

Slugyard helps us understand lupine pollination and even gives us a video to watch! Wah hoo!

The Carnivorous Plant Blog shows us a beautiful image of Darlingtonia‘s bits and a brief, simple method of pollinating the little darling. (Har!)

And finally, this post over at the Field Notebook just made me completely lose touch with reality and drift off into a daydream of spring, blooms, and the buzzing of bees and hummingbirds.. zzz.. bzzzz…

[blink] Anyway! To contribute something of my own, here’s a pic of a happy little bee getting a face full of lavender that I took two summers ago. Mmmm, summer.. flowers.. bees.. sunshine..

IS IT SPRING YET?!

Be sure to visit Berry Go Round’s main page, and, just for fun, I’ve added a few extras to get your springtime spirit bouncing around. Enjoy and happy blogging!

Web Exhibits explores the relationship between butterflies and color.

Longwood Gardens offers a fun, interactive site for you (or your children) to build their own flowers and learn about pollination.

The US Forest Service has a lot of great info, pics, and ideas on their Celebrating Wildflowers site! Check it out!

[Video Links] It’s Nest Cam Season! Yippeee!

It’s that time of year again, when baby birds and their outstanding parents are caught on camera streaming live to we nerds! Here’s a selection of some very awesome ones (please excuse the strange commercials asserting that BP did its job in cleaning up the oil.):

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a nestcam focused on a some barn owls in a nesting box. I love watching these birds do housework in prep for the (hopefully) forthcoming family. (Clicking on the “select a camera” drop down will allow you to also view the nests of bluebirds, a titmouse, and a Great Horned Owl.)

The Phoebe Allens camera is watching a hummingbird nest containing (so far) a single, jellybean-sized egg. (Scroll down to see the camera.) The ads and the random chat line in the sidebar were weird and distracting, but this little hummie is totally worth it. I just found this awesome article on how predatory our little buzzing friends are too, check it out! Seems like hummies need as much or more insect protein than nectar!

The Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group is watching a momma Peregrine Falcon sitting on her fluffy gray chicks.

Bald Eagles may be the most popular for raptor cams, so here’s three for you: Turtle Bay Exploration Park in California, the Eagles of Hornby Island, and this one from the Raptor Resource Project. Ahh! I’m watching the Raptor Resource one right now and dad just brought mom a big juicy fish and is chatting her up! (And for those of you who don’t know already, Bald Eagles don’t make that majestic scream they play in all the movies – that’s a Red-Tailed Hawk. In real life they sound like giant seagulls.) Watch the video below to see an eaglet bursting forth from its egg! (Ok, there’s no ‘bursting’ and it doesn’t actually get interesting until four minutes in and even then its siblings are walking all over it, but still! It’s BIRTH! New eagle LIFE!)

Now remember, if you get all attached to the babies (or the parents), you may in for some heartbreak as raptors often lose chicks before they’re grown. Besides that, please take a look at any or all of these cameras; what an incredible opportunity we have to see these animals in their natural habitat, performing natural wild behaviors with modern technology! It’s way better than watching the news. By a LOT.

Ahhh. I love nesting season. Happy Spring everyone!