Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter
~ For those passionate about birding and nature ~
April 1st, 2016                                                                                               Volume 04.16
Nature News
- Bird Of The Month -
Rufous Hummingbird

BOM Rufous Hummingbird
Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus 
How to identify: 
The Rufous is a fairly small hummingbird with a slender, nearly straight bill, a tail that tapers to a point when folded, and fairly short wings that don't reach the end of the tail when the bird is perched. In good light, male Rufous Hummingbirds glow like coals: bright orange on the back and belly, with a vivid iridescent-red throat. Females are green above with rufous-washed flanks, rufous patches in the green tail, and often a spot of orange in the throat.
Rufous Hummingbirds typically breed in open or shrubby areas, forest openings, yards, and parks, and sometimes in forests, thickets, swamps, and meadows from sea level to about 6,000 feet. During their migration, look for Rufous Hummingbirds in mountain meadows up to 12,600 feet elevation. In Mexico, wintering Rufous Hummingbirds live in oak, pine, and juniper woods at 7,500 to 10,000 feet elevation, shrubby areas, and thorn forests.
Where to find one:
Backyards and flower-filled parks are good places to find Rufous Hummingbirds while they're around, but these birds spend much of the year on the move. Rufous Hummingbirds may take up temporary residence in your garden if you grow hummingbird flowers or put out feeders. However, they may also make life difficult for any other hummingbird species that visit your yard. If you live on their migration route, visiting Rufous Hummingbirds are likely to move on after just a week or two.

How to attract one to your yard:  
Rufous Hummingbirds feed primarily on nectar from colorful, tubular flowers including columbine, scarlet gilia, penstemon, Indian paintbrush, mints, lilies, fireweeds, larkspurs, currants, and heaths. Rufous Hummingbirds get protein and fat from eating insects, particularly gnats, midges, and flies taken from the air, and aphids taken from plants.
This species often comes to hummingbird feeders. Make sugar water mixtures with about one-quarter cup of sugar per cup of water. Food coloring is unnecessary; table sugar is the best choice. Change the water before it grows cloudy or discolored and remember that during hot weather, sugar water ferments rapidly to produce toxic alcohol.
Interesting fact:
The Rufous Hummingbird makes one of the longest migratory journeys of any bird in the world, as measured by body size. At just over 3 inches long, its roughly 3,900-mile movement (one-way) from Alaska to Mexico is equivalent to 78,470,000 body lengths. In comparison, the 13-inch-long Arctic Tern's one-way flight of about 11,185 mi is only 51,430,000 body lengths
For more information on Rufous Hummingbirds, visit one of the three Moana Nursery store locations:  1100 W. Moana Ln. & 11301 S. Virginia St., Reno and 7644 Pyramid Hwy., Sparks. 
Carmel Ruiz-Hilton is Manager of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shops at Moana Nursery in Reno/Sparks

Go to the WBU site for more Bird of the Month newsletters & articles. 
Now is a perfect time to get some
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Check out all current sales and promotions on the Moana Nursery website
Fun Facts About Hummingbirds

There are 18 hummingbird species in North America. Hummingbirds are found no where else in the world except the New World (North, Central, and South America.)

The oldest known wild hummingbird on recorded was a Broad-tailed Hummingbird that was over 12 years old.

There are over 325 species of hummingbirds, making them the second largest bird family in the world, second only to flycatchers.

Hummingbirds weigh 1/10th of an ounce; about the weight of a penny.

Hummingbirds' brains are about the size of a BB.

Hummingbirds' hearts are larger proportionally to their body than any other bird or mammal.

Hummingbirds have such underdeveloped legs that they are unable to walk well.

A mother hummingbird weighs only about eight times more than her egg.

Hummingbirds lay the world's smallest bird egg.

Hummingbirds generally lay two eggs, each about the size of a blueberry.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have one of the highest nesting success rates of any neotropical migrant.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will have two broods, each taking 45 days from nest construction to fledging.

Hummingbirds use spider webs as glue to attach the nest to a tree branch as well as a binding agent for the building materials.

The nest is about the size of a golf ball; around 1 ½ inches in diameter.

Only about 20% of Ruby-throated Hummingbird fledglings survive their first year.

Hummingbirds learn to associate flower colors, like red, with food. They do not have an innate preference for red.

Hummingbirds can drink up to twice their body weight in nectar every day (most birds only eat ¼ - ½ their body weight).

Hummingbirds lap up nectar with their long tongues. There is a groove on either side of the tongue that creates a capillary action to help draw the nectar up the tongue and into the mouth during the lapping action.

While lapping up nectar, Hummingbirds can move their tongues in and out of their bill at a rate of up to 12 times a second.

Female Hummingbirds' tongues are longer than the males.

They eat insects and insect eggs on the ground and in trees. They love spiders and spider eggs. They use their bill and not their tongue to catch insects.

One research study recorded an Anna's Hummingbird visiting over a 1,000 flower blossoms a day.

Hummingbirds can fly up to 60 miles per hour, but typically fly at 30-45 miles per hour.

They can hover and are the only birds able to fly backwards and upside down.

They can do this because of an extremely mobile shoulder joint.

Their wings beat 20-80 times per second.

The flight muscles of a hummingbird are 25-30% of their body weight compared to other birds at 15-25%.

To keep their feathers in top shape, hummingbirds will leaf-bathe by fluttering against wet leaves.

During the night, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can enter into a state of torpor to save energy. Similar to a type of short-term hibernation, torpor reduces their metabolic activity and drops their heart rate from 1,200 beats per minute to 50 beats per minute.

Hummingbirds body temperatures are generally 105°-109°F (40.5°-42.7°C)

The male hummingbird's gorget (throat patch) is iridescent and reflects certain color wavelengths. Some of these unique throat colors can be used to identify specific male species. Anna's Hummingbird flashes neon pink; Costa's is violet; Magnificent is green; Ruby-throated is ruby-red; and the Blue-throated is vivid blue.

Hummingbirds have been known to fall prey to Bull Frogs, Praying Mantis and large spiders.

Keeping Bird Seed Fresh

Fresh, top quality seed and seed blends are the foundations for successful backyard bird feeding. Under normal storage and use conditions, seed will stay fresh and healthy for birds until it is completely consumed. However, unusually wet or humid weather conditions or periods of slow bird activity can potentially cause bird seed to deteriorate or spoil. The following recommendations will help to ensure that the seed you provide your birds will always be healthy and nutritious:

  • Always use high quality seed. If you are unsure about the freshness of the seed, it is best to discard the old seed and provide fresh new seed.
  • Always discard moldy, rancid or foul-smelling seed as it could present a health hazard to birds. Clean and disinfect all feeders and storage containers that have been in contact with spoiled seed. A 10 % bleach solution (9 parts water, 1 part bleach) is recommended.
  • Seed should always be stored in rodent - and insect - proof containers to avoid contamination. A 20-gallon galvanized metal trash can with a tight metal lid works very well.
  • Line the storage container with a heavy-duty plastic trash bag and replace it with every new bag of seed. This helps to reduce the risk of any insect infestation by removing insect eggs and larvae that would normally attach to the inside of the can.
  • If the seed containers are kept outdoors, secure the lids so that animals cannot get in and contaminate the seed.
  • Never mix old seed with new seed.
  • During the winter, store only the amount of seed that your birds can consume over a 30-day period. Seed stored longer than a month may run the risk of attracting insects and absorbing excess moisture.
  • To discourage insect problems be sure to completely use your winter supply of bird seed before warm weather arrives.
  • During periods of warm weather, store no more than a two-week supply of seed at a time. Always store your seed in a cool and dry location.
  • Keep your feeders filled with a one - or two - day supply of seed. By lessening the amount of seed in the feeders, you ensure that the seed is eaten quickly and always stays fresh.
  • When using a feeding-tray type of feeder, or any feeder that will spill seed directly on the ground, use only the amount of seed that the birds can completely consume during one day.

Upcoming Events
Lahontan Audubon Society

FIELD TRIP - Susanville Sage-grouse Lek & Honey Lake, CA
When  Sat, April 2, 4am - 2pm
Where  1810 Silverada Blvd, Reno, NV 89512

FIELD TRIP - Damonte Wetlands
When  Sat, April 9, 9am - 12pm
Where  1001 Steamboat Pkwy, Reno, NV 89521

Olympic Peninsula BirdFest
When  Apr 12 - 19, 2016
Where  Olympic Peninsula, Washington 98331

Birds & Books Reading Group - The Life of Birds
When  Tue, April 19, 4pm - 6pm
Where  Sundance Bookstore & Music, 121 California Ave, Reno, NV 89509

Owens Lake Bird Festival 2nd Annual
When  Fri, April 22, 6pm - Sun, April 24, 1pm
Where  Lone Pine, CA

When  Sat, April 23, 8am - 12pm
Where  Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 1595 North Sierra Street, Rancho San Rafael Regional Park

FIELD TRIP - Swan Lake & Lemmon Valley Ponds
When  Sat, April 23, 8:30am - 12:30pm
Where  120 Lemmon Dr, Reno, NV 89506

Owens Lake Bird Festival 2nd Annual
When  Fri, April 22, 6pm - Sun, April 24, 1pm
Where  Lone Pine, CA

Program Meeting - Will Richardson - The 2015 Tahoe Big Year
When  Tue, April 26, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Where  Moana Nursery at Moana Lane, Reno, Nevada, 1100 W Moana Ln, Reno, NV 89509

Birds of the Truckee Meadows - Introduction to Birding
When  Wed, April 27, 6pm - 8pm
Where  Moana Nursery Landscape Services, 1190 W Moana Ln, Reno, NV 89509

FIELD TRIP - Sierra Valley Expedition
When  Sat, April 30, 8am - 2pm
Where  Lemmon Valley Drive, Lemmon Valley Dr, Reno, NV

Animal Ark

Now open for the 2016-17 season!
For more information on future activities, go to http://animalark.org/ 

Nature Happenings
  • April 1 - 8: Project FeederWatch ends this month 
  • April 22: Earth Day April 29: 
  • Arbor Day Offer nesting material such as wool yarn, string cut in short lengths, sheep's wool and horse/dog hair. 
  • Get nectar feeders out and filled by April 15 for early hummingbird migrants. 
  • Notorious spring blizzards can blanket the region, making it very difficult for early migrants and early nesters to survive. Bird feeding is very important during these times. 
  • Traditionally, the first sightings of Broad-tailed Hummingbird males were on April 15. 
  • In recent years, first reports have seen them during the opening days of April. 
  • Female Broad-tails will follow in early May. 
  • Bald Eagles begin their nesting behaviors. 
  • Ravens, crows and Canada Geese begin nesting. 
  • Ground Squirrels being to emerge from hibernation. 
  • Osprey and Screech Owls are sitting on their eggs. 
  • Phoebe's return this month. Song Sparrows begin calling. 
  • South winds bring major waves of migrating birds like thrushes and warblers. 
  • Flickers establish their territories late in the month. 
  • Rubber Boa, Western Hog-nosed, Smooth Green, Milksnake, Gophersnake, and Garter snakes emerge from hibernation and begin mating. 
  • Canada Geese are nesting and their first young hatch.

Celebrating 10 years in Reno, NV! 
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Moana Nursery | 1100 W. Moana Lane | 11301 S. Virginia St. | 7655 Pyramid Hwy. | Reno/Sparks | NV | 89509