Hummingbird photographs

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vanislander
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Well, Al - I envy you your amazing variety of colourful parrots! :rosella: :sulfur: :galah: :magpie:

With the dramatic change in our weather over the past few days, we are finding things are much cooler now and that means that the hummingbirds here (Anna's) need a more concentrated sugar water (nectar). I increase it to 3 to 1 when weather gets colder (1 part sugar 3 parts water). I have just this morning mixed up a fresh batch, making sure the mixture boils and is thoroughly stirred and cooled. I usually keep a bottle of it in the fridge.

Hummingbirds go into a state of torpor when it gets really cold, to conserve their energy. The following article contains some interesting facts about torpor in birds - probably not something to worry about in Wollongong - but Golbourn might be another story ...

How do Hummingbirds survive Cold Nights? Hummingbirds and Torpor
http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2 ... nd-torpor/

Below is a short extract from the article:
The greatest diversity of hummingbird species is the neotropics (New World tropics) but many species live in or migrate to temperate zones in the United States and Canada to breed. Sometimes, for reasons that are not entirely clear, individual birds remain behind for the winter, and sometimes, they survive. Thus, as average seasonal temperatures increase, hummingbirds are increasingly becoming established as year-round residents outside of their traditional ranges. Anna’s Hummingbird is one species whose range has expanded steadily northward as seasonal temperatures have become milder. Thus, this bird is now a common year-round resident along the northwestern coast of the United States and even into some parts of Canada.

As most people know, hummingbirds feed on flower nectar, which is a tempting “gift” of high-energy sugars provided by flowers in exchange for pollination. In addition to nectar, hummingbirds also consume large quantities of small insects, which are full of higher-energy fats as well as essential proteins. Because of their tremendous metabolic requirements, hummingbirds have voracious appetites. Equivalent to the average human consuming an entire refrigerator full of food, hummingbirds eat roughly twice to thrice their own body weight in flower nectar and tiny insects each day.

Besides being among the smallest of all warm-blooded animals, hummingbirds also lack the insulating downy feathers that are typical for many other bird species. Due to their combined characteristics of small body size and lack of insulation, hummingbirds rapidly lose body heat to their surroundings. Even sleeping hummingbirds have huge metabolic demands that must be met simply to survive the night when they cannot forage. To meet this energetic challenge, hummingbirds save enough energy to survive cold nights by lowering their internal thermostat at night, becoming hypothermic. This reduced physiological state is an evolutionary adaptation that is referred to as torpor.
The full article contains many more interesting facts about this phenomenon.
vanislander
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Winter is still three months away, but after the sudden change to cooler temperatures here, and my previous post about torpor in hummingbirds, I thought I would post the solution that my husband and I came up with for the Anna's hummingbirds that now overwinter in our area. Here is what we did in December 2013.

During cold (below freezing) winter days, we had three hummingbird feeders in use. One was brought in overnight to make sure that there was always unfrozen ‘nectar’ for these little birds, who urgently need the energy first thing.

When it became obvious that something more needed to be done to keep the feeders from freezing (it was - 7C at the time), we came up with a solution that worked and didn’t seem to deter the hummers. It required drilling a couple of small holes into edge of protruding base at centre of bottom of the feeder, and attaching a piece of wire to suspend a 'trouble' light from - the heat from the incandescent bulb keeping the nectar from freezing.

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However, it didn’t seem to be as efficient as having an enclosed light, so it was back to the drawing board.

And here’s what we came up with! This simple method was so successful that it was circulated by the local avian/wildlife rehabs, and many local people found that it worked well for them too.

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You’ll need some fine strong wire, a trouble light, and a large can, approximately same diameter as feeder, with bottom removed so it becomes a cylinder.

Turn base of feeder over and attach wire as shown below:

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Below shows how the trouble light will hook onto base of feeder (brass hook to demonstrate where trouble light would hang)

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Then place small sections of wire to hook over each perch with a couple of inches to hang below and hook onto the can that has 4 holes close to the edge to line up with perch wires.

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Fill feeder with a more concentrated syrup (generous 1/3 cup of sugar to one cup of water)

Hang feeder and attach the trouble light heater contraption by hooking over the perches and hooking light to centre wire loop.

If you build it, they will come!
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This little female Anna's Hummer was perched on heated feeder for over 5 minutes - looked like she was happy to warm up there.
vanislander
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I have posted a jigsaw puzzle of this male Rufous Humming bird HERE in the Jigsaw Puzzles thread.

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© 2014 boonibarb

This photo was taken on Hornby Island, a small island which is a few miles from where I am. I love the way his blazing gorget looks almost like it was crotcheted in a brilliantly fluorescent fibre! :)

I have tried many times to capture that flash of blazing orange, but have never quite managed it. As you can see in the photo below, if the light is not quite right the gorget appears to be just darker feathers. The rest of his feathers did look quite luminous, though.

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I did, however, get a photo of a male Anna's with illuminated feathers and gorget, while perched at one of our 'heated' feeders during the winter:


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PSJFL
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vanislander
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Deb - it worked fine when I clicked the links. I saw each video. They were very interesting. You managed to catch that flash of brilliance on the male! :)

If you want to show the videos directly in your post, all you have to do is remove this: https://youtu.be/ and put [youtube] 3AzCwUhRqi0 [/youtube] before and after (without spaces) as I have done below. (Check this post in "quote" mode to see how it looks).

PSJFL
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great! thanks!!!
vanislander
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Here is a link to "West Texas Hummingbirds" - a Cornell web cam where many species of hummingbirds visit. (Thanks Mable for posting that link in chat!)

The "Species Info" tab, below the streaming cam on the website, lists 12 commonly seen species, although 4 of those are described as "rare" visitors (including the Anna's I have been documenting here.


http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/5 ... 1408030501



https://youtu.be/evc9PIxPros
RB2sMom
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Magnificent Hummingbird photographed online from the West TX Hummingbird cam site:

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vanislander
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It has been a while since I visited here! But I'd like to report that our Anna's have been very active so far this winter, which has been quite mild to date. We have only had a couple of frosty mornings, and it was not cold enough to freeze the more concentrated sugar mixture in the feeders.

We only have a few Anna's around, so things are fairly peaceful. The males do, however, guard the feeders and chase off other males. For that reason we have two feeders out of view of each other!

Below are some stills from a video taken in November 2013, showing a male on our clothes line (close to one of the feeders he was guarding). He is busy flashing his head and gorget like a brilliant little beacon!


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In the composite photo below you can see how his feathers catch the light with just a slight move of his head


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Here is the video:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rMHC8a1yDk
RB2sMom
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Wow...beautiful Van....we do not get that one here......I really miss our little guys
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