Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Hummingbird to my Life List

It was my third trip to Miami Florida. A trip undertaken with much financial constrains; to witness my son being conferred  a Ph.D. 

I had been to Miami twice before and seen much of its wildlife, camped many a times in the Everglades and been out birding in the parks. However it was this time that I had been there in the month of December [2012] when the winter was setting in, more realistic to say the cold weather setting in as Florida has a tropical climate with no snow.

Naveen had moved to a different location this time. The lower floor apartment opened into the car park, and in the car park was a very old ‘Butterfly Tree’ Bauhinia purpurea or “Koboneela” in Sinhala, Nilattiruvatti in Tamil. Basically a tree of the tropics known to flower in the month of September through November in Sri Lanka; was in full bloom here in the cold month of December for it's a non-deciduous tree.

The sweet scented aroma of the flowers attracted swamps of bees and their numbers being so much, sitting under the tree one got the feeling that it was whispering  to you in a low hum. It was by chance that I noted it was not only the bees that were attracted to the flowers but  others too.

I knew that the Americas’ did not have Sunbirds but through curiosity inquired if there were Sunbirds around here. No was the reply and probably it was a Humming bird that I was seeing. The bird was too fast for the binoculars, but I was lucky as it  used to perch in the same location over and over again..........It was identified to be a “Ruby-throated Hummingbird".

Lucky me  I had seen my first Hummingbird………a new addition to my life list.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is 7–9 cm  long with a wingspan of 8–11 cm, weighing anything from 2 to 6 grams. The species is sexually dimorphic and the females are slightly larger than the males. As in all hummingbirds, the toes and feet of this species are also quite small. The middle toe is around 0.6 cm  and the  tarsus approximately 0.4 cm. The size comparison as shown below against a human hand is noteworthy when comparing the smallest living bird the Bee Hummingbird that is only 5–6 cm and weighs about 1.6–2 grams 


The Ruby- throated Hummingbird has a migration pattern from it’s breeding grounds in the Eastern North America and Canada to lower locations as Mexico in the winter.

My third trip to Miami with much difficulty did pay off after all; sighting a Ruby-throated Hummingbird  


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