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Fw: Hummingbirds we have met

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  • Brenda Wright
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 5 10:16 AM
      --- On Sun, 4/5/09, Brenda Wright <coenbrenda@...> wrote:

      > From: Brenda Wright <coenbrenda@...>
      > Subject: Hummingbirds we have met
      > To: coenbrenda@...
      > Date: Sunday, April 5, 2009, 11:13 AM
      > Hummingbirds exist only in the Americas. According to the
      > Birds of the World Handbook there are 328 species with 132
      > species in Ecuador.
      > One hummingbird we always wanted to see is the Sicklebill.
      > Sicklebills are in both Panama and Ecuador so we hoped we
      > might run across one. They are listed as inconspicuous in
      > the undergrowth of foothill and lower subtropical forests.
      > They feed primarily on Heliconia flowers which are plants
      > related to the banana with large hanging chains of red and
      > yellow flowers. We were shown to a patch of Heliconia in the
      > Cerro Azul area of Panama. We learned that the flowers were
      > mostly done blooming and most of the Sicklebills had moved
      > to lower elevations. We hung around not really expecting to
      > see anything. After a while we could hear loud chipping and
      > saw a small dark bird flying around the Heliconias. The
      > wings were very noisy as the bird moved around. After
      > several brief glimpses we finally spotted one sitting
      > quietly on a branch about a foot off the ground. It was
      > large for a hummingbird listed at 4 3/4 inches, sooty in
      > color and heavily streaked. It had the
      > most amazing sharply decurved sickle shaped bill. We could
      > not believe the wonderful long looks we got of this bird!
      > It then flew up to a Heliconia flower and began to feed by
      > clinging right onto the flower with its feet! We later saw
      > this bird again in Ecuador and the second experience was
      > just as good as the first.
      > It is impossible to pick the most beautiful hummingbird of
      > the trip. With names like Andean Emerald, Flame-throated
      > Sunangel, Little Woodstar, Empress Brillant, Golden-tailed
      > Sapphire, Glowing Puffleg and Shining Sunbeam it is easy to
      > see why. Some stick in our memory a little more then others
      > because of their extreme beauty, their character and the
      > places they chose to live. Some hummingbirds come to feeders
      > and some do not.
      > One hummingbird that rarely visits feeders is the
      > Purple-crowned Fairy. It spends most of it's time
      > feeding high in the forest canopy. It is a very active bird
      > looking much like a fairy dancing in the tree tops with
      > it's long graduated mostly white tail. The Wedge-billed
      > hummingbird is another favorite. It has a short straight
      > bill which it uses to poke a hole right in base of a flower
      > taking a short cut to the nectar. Then there is the
      > Sword-billed Hummingbird, wow! This hummingbird has a really
      > long bill up to 4 inches long. Perched birds rest with the
      > bill sharply upraised, as if to balance the excessive
      > length. We saw this bird only at one location. It was
      > visiting a hummingbird tray feeder and it was a sight to
      > see!!!
      > Many of the lodges we visited had hummingbird feeders. As
      > we changed locations and elevations we would encounter new
      > groups of hummingbirds. Just when we thought we had them
      > figured out we would go to the next spot and find we still
      > had a bit of learning to do! We saw 90 different species of
      > hummingbird on this trip so one can see why our minds got
      > boggled at times. Two of our favorite hummers to come to
      > feeders are the Booted Racket-tail and the Velvet-purple
      > Coronet. The Racket-tail comes in two forms. The birds that
      > live on the west slope of the Andes have large white leg
      > puffs and the east slope birds have orange leg puffs. They
      > both have very long deeply fork tails with large blue-black
      > rackets at the tip. Booted Racket-tails are often the
      > smallest bird at the feeders but they nose right in with the
      > big guys and get their share! They are easy to spot because
      > they feed with their tail straight up in the air. The
      > Velvet-purple Coronet is a large
      > stunning 4 1/2 inch bird glittering purple and turquoise
      > green with a flashing white tail. At one lodge hummers were
      > drinking 15 gallons of necter each day. They gave up on
      > using hummingbird feeders and just poured the juice in large
      > red trays. The hummers sit, shoulder to shoulder, all round
      > the tray as they feed.
      > Several hummingbirds live above 8000 feet in the Andes
      > mountains. The Neblina Metaltail lives up to 10'000 feet
      > in the foggy, rainy windswept elfin forests in southern
      > Ecuador and extreme northern Peru. Neblina means
      > "mist" in Spanish. We found this red throated gem
      > while walking down a road in heavy mist and strong winds at
      > 9000 feet. The bird was perched high in a bush seemingly
      > oblivious to the weather. This bird has a very limited range
      > and it was even a new bird for our bird guide! The
      > Rainbow-bearded Thornbill is worth mention because of
      > it's spectacular beard. The beard is a elongated and
      > pointed throat patch glittering green becoming glittering
      > orange and tapering to fiery red on the chest. It lives
      > between 8'400 and 11'000 feet. And last of all is
      > the Blue-mantled Thornbill. This bird is dark with a long
      > forked blue-black tail. It is unique in that it feeds mostly
      > on the ground. There are few trees where it lives between
      > 10'800 and 12'300 feet
      > in Ecuador.
      > There are so many others but these are the one we will
      > most remember!! After seeing 173 hummingbird species in the
      > Americas it is no wonder we have hummer confusion.
      > More later, Brenda & Coen
    • larry arnold
      Coen, et al., my favorites include Sicklebill (we really had to work for this one), Sword-billed, Booted Racket-tail, Great Saphirewing (second largest
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 5 7:52 PM
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