Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter
~ For those passionate about birding and nature ~
August 2017                                                                                              Volume 8.17
Nature News

High Desert Bird of the Month
Rufous Hummingbird

 
 
BOM:  Rufous Hummingbird
Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus 
 
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.
 
These 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 as high as in our mountain meadows up to 10,000 feet elevation.
 
Areas such as Galena Creek and some of our local parks and backyards 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 flower-filled garden or by putting out nectar 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.
 
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; refined table sugar is the best choice since other sugars such as brown, organic or blends can have iron which can build up over time and become lthal. Change the water before it grows cloudy or discolored and remember that during hot weather, sugar water ferments rapidly to produce toxic alcohol.
 
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

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 eat about every ten minutes.
- Hummingbirds learn to associate flower colors, like red, with food. They do not have an innate preference for red.
- Hummingbirds can be very protective with feeding areas. One Anna's Hummingbird was seen killing another using its bill as a spear when a freeze killed a significant portion of flowers in the area. You can offer birds a helping hand in harsh weather times by providing extra feeders.
- Hummingbirds can drink up to twice their body weight in nectar every day (most birds only eat ¼ - ½ their body weight).
- They drink nectar from plants and sugar water from feeders.
- 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.
- Hummingbirds can extend their tongue approximately a distance equal to the length of their bill.
- 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%.
- Hummingbirds will bathe in shallow water sources like natural pools or dishes, and enjoy "showering" in sprinklers and misters.
- 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)
- Hummingbirds can be very feisty and aggressive when defending their territories and will even chase away much larger birds.
- The iridescence in the hummingbird's feathers has led them to be called the "jewels of the garden."
- 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.


Wild Birds Unlimited Freshest Bird Seed in Town!
Red Hot Prices Aug 1-15!

Quail Block 5.5lb  $14.99 reg / $12.99 sale
  No Mess Seed Cylinder Large $26.99 reg / $23.99 sale

               

Green Solutions Feeders - Made in USA
These feeders are ready to hang! 



They are made of maintenance-free, durable recycled material and are produced in the USA. Birds love perching on the rods of the tray feeders and it provides ample room for your hungry birds. Easy to clean and fill.  Great for feeding live meal worms in. 

Molting Birds Need High-Protein Foods

High-protein foods help to provide birds with energy, especially important as many are undergoing a seasonal "wardrobe change," known as molting. High-protein foods include, peanuts, Nyjer® (thistle), sunflower chips and Jim's Birdacious® Bark Butter®. While they pack the energy birds need to grow new feathers, most of these foods are also tidy feeding options. 

Finch Blend ● Nyjer ● Sunflower Chips ● Peanuts (shelled and in the shell) 
Bark Butter ● Bark Butter Bits ● Mealworms

 

Out with Old, In with the New 

 

Just as people make seasonal wardrobe changes, many birds are beginning a transformation of their own, losing and replacing their feathers in a process known as molting. Molting is when a bird replaces some (partial molt) or all (full molt) of its feathers. This complicated process requires a lot of energy and may take up to eight weeks to complete. Molting is so physically demanding for most ducks and geese that they can't fly and will molt in seclusion to avoid predators. Molting season varies by species and time of year. Right now many birds are beginning their main molt of the year, however, American Goldfinches (pictured above) are one of the last to molt. Due to their late nesting period, they won't start their molt until late August. Distinguishing birds that are molting from those that are not can be difficult. Though some birds may lose patches of feathers and appear "balding," most birds' feather loss and replacement are far less noticeable. Feathers are made of more than 90% protein, primarily keratins, so every molting bird needs extra proteins to grow strong feathers for proper flight and effective insulation. For the next few months, offer high-protein bird foods, such as Nyjer® (thistle), peanuts,

Visit us soon for all of the high-protein foods that will meet your birds' needs. We have everything you need to help your birds keep going (and re-growing feathers) during this critical time.

Upcoming Events

Lahontan Audobon Society

Friday, August 11
8:00am
 Field Trip - Rancho San Rafael
Tuesday, August 15
4:00pm
 Birds and Books
Saturday, August 19
7:30am
 Field Trip - Spooner Lake Bird Walk
Tuesday, August 22
6:30pm
 Program Meeting - Mountain Chickadees - Behavior, Cognition and the Brain
Friday, August 25
8:00am
 Field Trip - Mayberry/Dorostkar Parks



Animal Ark

ARK AT DARK

August 12 @ 7:30 pm - 9:45 pm
Animal Ark, 1265 Deerlodge Road 
Reno, NV 89508 

Reserve early as this event fills quickly! RSVP at 1-775-970-3431 or purchase advance tickets below: Wolves and coyotes howling and big cats growling in the night: it's Ark at Dark! Enjoy a guided flashlight tour and see our nocturnal predators in their element. Event prices: Adults $15; Seniors $13.50; Children $12; Suggested for ages 7 or older due to late...


SPONSORS NIGHT

August 26 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Animal Ark, 1265 Deerlodge Road 
Reno, NV 89508 
This is an invitation-only event for Members and Adoptive Parents! Bring a treat for your animal; talk to the animal keepers; and hear behind-the-scenes stories. Not yet a member or a sponsor? You are welcome to purchase either status at the door.

 

Nature Happenings
* Watch for Common Nighthawks hunting over open ground for flying insects in the late afternoon light.
* Hummingbirds are active at feeders and at flowers, sourcing protein from spiders and insects and sipping nectar for sugars.
* Male hummingbirds start their southbound migration this month, averaging 20 miles a day to wintering grounds in Central America and Mexico. Females head south later and juveniles will stay around until early October.
* Many of our summer visitors have finished their nesting cycle and will begin their migration south.
* Male Black-headed Grosbeaks will disappear from the landscape as they begin their southern migration; females and juveniles will follow in the coming weeks.
* Bullock's Orioles, our summer visitors that love to chatter notes high and low, will begin to migrate south. * Perseids Meteor shower is mid-month.
* Daylilies are in bloom.
* Yellow jackets make paper-like nests.
* Migration begins. Keep feeders full with fresh food for "stopover" migrants.
* Pinon Jays, normally found exclusively in the pinon/juniper areas, gobble lots of seed at bird feeders.
* Geese, ducks, cranes, etc. usually fly in 'V' formation. The theory is that all but lead bird gain lift from wing-tipped vortices produced by lead bird.
 American Goldfinches finish nesting late this month.


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Moana Nursery | 1100 W. Moana Lane | 11301 S. Virginia St. | 7655 Pyramid Hwy. | Reno/Sparks | NV | 89509