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June 13, 2011

Don't all babies tug at your heart string?

That includes baby birds too.

Pictured is a nest of baby robins, and more than likely this pair's second brood already.

After some record breaking heat and some air that you wear, things have cooled off for now (too much so).

Karen and I did manage a trip to Lake Michigan this past Wednesday.

It was like seeing an old friend for me.

66 degree water wasn't what I wanted, but it was doable and the sights and sounds alone can sooth the soul.

We also watched the 'U.S. Coast Guard' practice some water rescue drills by boat, helicopter and divers.

That was worth the trip in itself.

After all the rain in May, I said we would be begging for it in another month.

Well, we sure needed some rain, and thankfully only had to wait two weeks, as we had a nice soaker on Friday.

While you and I have a difficult time in the hot weather, so do your outdoor pets and animals.

Be sure to offer shade and a constant source of fresh water.

After all, they can't tell you they are hot.

Wildlife has to deal with the elements year round and our Creator has equipped them to do so.

For our wild birds, they have a few built in devices to help them during the heat of summer.

Birds don't over heat as fast as we do, even though they can't perspire as we do.

Depending on the species, a bird's body temperature is around 6 to 10 degrees warmer than that of humans.

With this in place, they don't over heat right away as the air temperature doesn't bother them as much.

You may see some birds fluffed up.

This allows warmer skin to release some heat and allow air to circulate.

Pictured from this past week, is a robin with its mouth open.

Panting is a common sight as well on hot days.

This too releases excessive heat build up.

This is something I mention from time to time as well.

Bird legs are also created to help keep them cool in the summer and warmer in the winter.

During the summer months, birds increase the flow of blood through there legs.

By doing so, the blood cools and runs back through the body.

During the cold months, blood slows way down to help retain heat.

A built in mechanism.

Pretty special Huh?

Gardens also offer a good hang out for Chipmunks (pictured below).

True, they can, at times be a pain, but who can resist a chippy posing for a photo opp.

This guy/gal is enjoying a raw peanut.

Juvenile squirrels are now out and about.

This year's crop of young squirrels seems to be smaller than previous years.

(Picture of House Finch pair also posted below.)

It has been a busy year.

So much so, that I have neglected to say much on one of Nature's real jewels.

Yes, the Hummingbird is this week's topic.


On God's list of endless gifts he has given us is the Hummingbird.

I have yet to meet a person that doesn't stop to watch a hummingbird.

As often as I have seen Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, I still stop to watch them.

Their beauty, the ultimate helicopter and more.

These diminutive birds are special in many ways.

From their migration, flight and feeding habits.....

And many other things that simply amaze.

Pictured are a couple of feeders that are drip proof and bee resistant.

The hanging feeder is an Aspect's 'Hummzinger', while the window feeder is also from Aspect's called 'The Jewel Box'.

With these feeders, I can even watch the fast action of the tongue flicking and the sugar water vibration.

My favorites for all they offer to me.

You create special gardens and plant Flowers just to attract hummingbirds.

We hang out special feeders just for them.

While you enjoy watching and Feeding Your Hummingbirds and you know somethings about your tiny visitors.....

Then again, you may be new to the exciting world of birds and you realize......

Their is so much to learn.

Stick around my friend.

There just might be a few things about hummers..

Some you may not know about.

I'm offering up a few tidbits just in case.

There are 339 species and 116 genera of Hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds occur only in the Western Hemisphere, with almost half the species (163) living in the "equatorial belt" between 10 degrees north and south of the equator.

Are we special or what?

Scientists are still discovering new species in some remote jungles of South America.

Within the continental United States, there are 16 species of breeding hummingbirds, with another handful or so Mexican or Caribbean species that have been spotted in the U.S.

There are no hummingbirds in Hawaii.

Four and perhaps five species have been reported from Alaska.

On occasion, it is said a hummingbird is spotted in Europe or parts of Asia.

If so, these are caged birds that were released or escaped.

The daring 500 plus mile flight that Ruby-throated hummingbirds take crossing the Gulf of Mexico is one thing.

Crossing the expanse of an Ocean is impossible for these high energy birds.

The calliope hummingbird is the smallest bird species in North America and measures just 3 inches long. The bee hummingbird is the smallest species and measures 2.25 inches long.

Hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs of all birds. They measure less than 1/2 inch long but may represent as much as 10 percent of the motherís weight at the time the eggs are laid.

A hummingbird must consume approximately 1/2 of its weight in sugar daily, and the average hummingbird feeds 5-8 times per hour.

A hummingbirdís wings beat between 50 and 200 flaps per second depending on the direction of flight and air conditions.

Hummingbirds cannot walk or hop, though their feet can be used to scoot sideways while they are perched.

Up to 30% of a hummingbirdís weight is in its pectoral muscles, the muscles principally responsible for flight.

Hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs of all birds. They measure about the size of a Navy bean, but may represent as much as 10 percent of the motherís weight at the time the eggs are laid.

Moms, can you imagine giving birth to 10% of your weight?

(I snapped this picture last year and still get a kick out of it. Notice the little hummer on the hummingbird weather-vane in my backyard.)

A hummingbird must consume approximately 1/2 of its weight in sugar daily, and the average hummingbird feeds 5-8 times per hour.

That is like you and me having to consume well over
100,000 calories a day just to survive.

Many hummingbird species, including Annaís, black-chinned, Allenís, Costaís, Rufous, Calliope and Broad-tailed hummingbirds, can breed together to create hybrid species, one fact that makes identifying hummingbirds very challenging.

Our More Common Species Profiles.

You can read even more on a a Hummingbird's Brain and what makes these birds so special.

Check out the unique abilities of the Hummingbird's Bill.

No wonder we stop to watch and go out of our way to attract these Marvels of 'Creation'.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

A blessed week to you.

Now here is our positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Today I will be happier than a bird on a French fry."

Author Unknown

I hope this quote puts a smile on your face as it did mine.

Often, happiness is a choice we make.

Now here is one of many passages from the Good Book.

"I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to
be happy and to do good as long as they live;"

Ecclesiates 3:12

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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