Out On The Mudline
Hummingbirds Back From Annual Migration
As I crossed the entry porch at our back door a small humming object evaded me by some unexplainable maneuver. I responded to that by calling to Nannette, “They’re back, get some sugar water ready while I get a couple of feeders from the change-room.”
There is really no need to get more than a couple ready for that one is very likely the only one here now and it will be a male—according to the book the males migrate first. I was not aware of that bit of information until I reread the latest authoritative information on the hummingbirds. Several days later Nannette told me that the hummingbird had visited her at her kitchen window.
In the information read I ran across the fact that these little birds returned, most of the time, to former places of residence—they must have built in GPS. They make a 500 mile non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico, all water. Several days later while I sat on the couch next to the chimney window, I noticed a hummer just outside the window close to my head.
Within a week we had a female hummingbird show up and then, for an extended period we saw very little of either male or female. When they reappeared it was in numbers. Apparently, from the size of the birds, there was a hatch of baby birds and more senior birds joining the original pair.
Mountain View Friend
A friend at “Cardiac Rehab” lives most of the time at Mountain View, Ark. If you’ve ever been to Mountain View you probably know that there is no scarcity of hummingbirds. My friend, Harold Vaughn, says one of his major jobs is counting hummingbirds. In the conversation he stops and wants to know exactly how they move in reverse or forward and/or right and left with no apparent difficulty. One of the books describes this as—all the moves of a helicopter. It is his intent to purchase a stop-action camera to assist in figuring out the answer to these questions.
My intent is to show him my copy of “Bird Families of the World” from The Reader/s Digest Association, catalog card number 79-83553. The information given in the general discussion of world hummingbirds (only found in the new world). There is one found in the Andes that is a little over eight inches in length.
Hummingbirds, related to the swifts, are mostly aerial. They have very small legs and feet which are used for perching. They feed while flying and even bathe while on the wing by brushing against wet foliage. Although the head is large in relation to the remainder of the body this is not an obvious feature.
The rate of movement of the wings, a point in which Harold is interested, varies greatly from one species to the next—dependent on the size of that particular species. The family, as a whole, is aggressive. To hover, as in feeding, one species moves the tips of the wing tips in a figure eight. If you are interested in the exact information given, get your librarian to procure a copy of the book as listed above.
Several of the species are migratory and move into North America to nest in the southern parts of Canada or Alaska. Other species, particularly those of tropical and subtropical mountain regions may be localized in distribution and adaptation.
Several months ago one of my readers out there contacted me about the location of a community located in Panola County—in Civil War days. Just a few days ago in talking to a clerk in a store here in Batesville I’m fairly certain that I now have the location of Moss. In addition I believe that I know why we have not been able to locate it earlier. If you call me I will fill you in on the details.
We do wish that you have a great week—we’re going to try to do the same. You can reach me most of the time at 662-563-9879 or 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, Mississippi 38606.