bird

The hummingbird whisperer

Researcher’s 200-plus wild ‘fairy’ birds make their home at UCLA

UCLA researcher Melanie Barboni is the hummingbird whisperer. Los Angeles is loaded with hummingbirds year round and Melanie has attracted hundreds right outside her office window.

“They are, in every aspect, remarkable. They are tiny but fierce. They have so much personality, an amazing metabolism,” Barboni said of the birds that drink 8 to 10 times their weight in nectar daily. “They are Mother Nature’s best creation. … She was trying to make one tiny perfect jewel, and I think she got it perfectly right.”

My late mother lived about ten miles west of UCLA and we had hummingbird feeders in her backyard. She was loaded with them and it was incredible to watch, year round. Here in Connecticut we only have one species, ruby-throated and they migrate so we only have them from late spring to early fall; they’re getting read to fly south right now.

[via The Kid Should See This]

Hummingbirds in slow motion

Slow motion video of hummingbirds flying, shaking, and drinking from National Geographic. Fantastic.

We have about two dozen ruby throated hummingbirds who summer at our place. If a hummingbird is born here they get this location imprinted in their heads and when they fly to Mexico at the end of the summer and back next spring/summer, they come right back to our feeders. Seriously, if I move the feeder ten feet they hover at the old location and are pissed for a while until they find the new one.

[via The Kid Should See This]

Piliated woodpeckers

Piliated woodpeckers

Click through to Flickr to play this video. I’ll try to embed a copy at some point.

A pair of pileated woodpeckers working on a stump next to our house.

Note: My sister-in-law thinks it’s probably a male-female pair and I now agree. I didn’t see enough difference between them and didn’t know the female had as much red on her head. So, my narration is probably off.

I heard a pileated call that seemed closer then usual, looked out my office window and this is what I saw. Grabbed my iPhone and recorded this through a window. Clipped the initial futzing around and zooming in.

These magnificent birds are very shy. We hear them in the tree-tops behind our house but never see them this close. It’s not unusual for them to work on trees at ground level though; more insects there.

In walking around our place I found three more stumps with recent pileated wood-pecking on them, hopefully they’ll come back.