How to Identify Bald Eagles, Young and Old
Bird Watcher's Digest | Out There With the Birds Blog
by Jeffrey A. Gordon
6M ago
Late one December I found myself among a loose aggregation of birders standing by a roadside in Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. To our north stretched a field, and somewhere in it there was supposed to be a northern lapwing, a handsome Eurasian shorebird that always makes news when it appears on our shores. After a bit of waiting, we briefly saw the lapwing fly by on its odd, paddle-shaped wings. It landed out of view in a low spot, and all of the assembled birders headed out along the field edge in hope of a better look. As we walked along, a dark bird appeared in the distan ..read more
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Red Food Coloring and Hummingbirds
Bird Watcher's Digest | Out There With the Birds Blog
by Julie Zickefoose
6M ago
What about red food coloring in hummingbird nectar? Is it harmful? I decided to research this question when an injured hummingbird came into my care in the summer of 2009. She had had just two feedings of a commercial nectar preparation containing artificial dye. She was still excreting brilliant red droppings 24 hours later. Many commercial “hummingbird food” preparations contain Red Dye #40, which is an artificial colorant derived from petrochemicals, more specifically coal tar. Rumors have been rampant for years about the effects of artificial food coloring on hummingbirds. There have been ..read more
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Hawks in an Eagle Nest
Bird Watcher's Digest | Out There With the Birds Blog
by David Bird
6M ago
While no one is quite sure how it happened, a tiny red-tailed hawk turned up in a bald eagle nest in British Columbia. BWD columnist David Bird lives nearby and witnessed this remarkable adoption. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon on July 9, 2017, and there, perched high in a tree, resplendent in its first coat of feathers, was a male red-tailed hawk. Only four or five feet away was the huge stick nest it had recently fledged from, inhabited by its three nestmates. But this was no ordinary red-tail and these were no ordinary nestmates. Roll the camera back to early June. A strange thing took ..read more
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Gardening Tips for Hummingbirds: Tips for Your Region
Bird Watcher's Digest | Out There With the Birds Blog
by Ed Kanze
6M ago
Continental East Imagine you could plant a garden so lush, green, and full of blooming things that angels would come down from on high to sip from its reservoirs of nectar. You can. With the right flowers to attract them, you’ll provide irresistible temptations to hummingbirds—the angels (and devils) of the bird world. Hummingbirds seem like angels because they flash colors too bright to be of this world, fly forward, backward, and sideways with the greatest of ease, and sport glittering feathers that put Elvis Presley’s sequined jumpsuits to shame. They are devils because hummingbirds will do ..read more
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Myths About Hummingbirds
Bird Watcher's Digest | Out There With the Birds Blog
by Bill Thompson, III
6M ago
Myth #1: Migrating on the backs of larger birds One of the most persistent myths in the world of birds is that hummingbirds migrate on the backs of larger, stronger birds. On the surface this might make sense, if one is willing to put one’s brain in neutral and simply rely on one’s natural ability to presume something is true. After all, hummingbirds are tiny little things. How could they possibly migrate over a long distance, overcoming enormous natural obstacles? Take the ruby-throated hummingbird for example: It migrates south from the eastern United States and Canada, across or around ..read more
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Praying Mantis: Hummingbird Predator
Bird Watcher's Digest | Out There With the Birds Blog
by BWD Magazine
6M ago
Though we tend to think of hummingbirds as cute, dainty little things, in reality they make bold and fierce competitors. They don’t let their guard down for a moment while defending their territories from other hummingbirds. They must also watch out for other animals that might prey on them, such as American kestrels in North America or tarantulas in South America. Praying mantises are also known to capture and kill hummingbirds, as a reader from West Chester, Pennsylvania, describes. – BWD The other day while I was working in the yard my son urgently called to me. “Dad, a praying mantis ..read more
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Hummingbird Resources
Bird Watcher's Digest | Out There With the Birds Blog
by BWD Magazine
6M ago
The Hummingbird Society – The Hummingbird Society is a nonprofit charitable organization that strives to teach about hummingbirds and works to prevent extinction of endangered species. Hummingbirds.net – Your source for information on attracting, watching, feeding, and studying North American hummingbirds. Hummingbird Journey North – Help track hummingbird migration each fall and spring as the tiny migrants travel to and from their wintering grounds. Birdfeeders.com – Check out the hummingbird library at birdfeeders.com. The Hummer/Bird Study Group – The Hummer/Bird S ..read more
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How to Revive a Faded Hummingbird Feeder
Bird Watcher's Digest | Out There With the Birds Blog
by Anne Kogge
6M ago
Each spring when I pull my hummingbird feeders out of storage in anticipation of the hummingbirds’ return, the red parts of the feeders appear to have faded to a bland, light pink. Everyone knows that bright red is the most alluring color to a hungry hummingbird, so I have devised a way to revive those faded feeder parts. Using a shockingly bright red nail polish, I carefully paint a red flower around the feeding hole, being sure to avoid the hole and feeding area. To make doubly sure the hummingbirds notice the feeder, I hang a large red ribbon on it. The combination never fails to catch the ..read more
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Tips for Identifying Hummingbirds
Bird Watcher's Digest | Out There With the Birds Blog
by Bill Thompson, III
6M ago
Identifying a hummingbird is very similar to identifying other bird species—if the hummer is sitting or hovering in one place long enough for you to get a reasonably good look at it. If the hummingbird is behaving like most hummers do, getting a good look may take some time and require a bit of patience on your part. I always recommend that bird watchers looking at an unfamiliar bird start at the top of the bird’s head (or tip of the bill) and visually work their way down the body and back toward the tail, noting any obvious field marks. This works for hummingbirds, too. For most North America ..read more
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Frequently Asked Questions About Hummingbird Feeders
Bird Watcher's Digest | Out There With the Birds Blog
by Bill Thompson, III
6M ago
Feeder Placement There are a few things to keep in mind when placing your feeders. First of all, the feeders need to be where the birds can find them—near flowering plants is an ideal starting point. Secondly, the feeders need to be where you can see them, enjoy them, and get easy access for filling and cleaning. Thirdly, the feeders should be out of direct sunlight to slow the fermentation/spoilage process. Lastly, once the bird are tuned into your feeders, you can move them in short steps, to a more advantageous position. Hummingbirds remember a reliable food source—even from year to year. A ..read more
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