Posts Tagged ‘Texas bird watching’

WedMay201026

Hummingbirds are here in Smithville, TX

Hummingbirds are here in Smithville and here are some interesting information on them.       

 Hummingbird FAQs
By Bill Thompson, III
Editor | Bird Watcher’s Digest

The hummingbirds are back all across North America after their absence during what felt like a long, cold winter. Now that the backyard feeders are abuzz with hummingbird activity again, many avid watchers are reminded of lingering questions about these remarkable little acrobats. Here are just a couple of the commonly asked hummingbird questions we hear at Bird Watcher’s Digest each year.

  Q: Is it possible to estimate how many hummingbirds I feed each day?

A: Hummingbird experts Nancy Newfield and Bob and Martha Sargent generated a formula whereby you count the number of hummingbirds you can see at one time at your feeders and multiply this number by six to determine how many birds are visiting your feeder. They arrived at this number based on years of banding and color-marking hummingbirds at feeders.

At our feeders here in southeast Ohio, we feed a half-gallon of solution a day, and we have calculated by the above formula that we get 139 hummingbirds during the busy part of the summer. Thus each of our hummingbirds is consuming 0.46 ounces of nectar per day. There are 64 ounces in our half gallon of daily solution, so if we divide 64 (the number of ounces consumed) by 0.46 (the per-hummingbird daily consumption), we get 139 hummers at our feeders. Wow!

Although this is not strict science, it’s fun to do the calculations!

 Q: How do I keep ants and bees out of the hummingbird feeder?

Select a hummingbird feeder with bee guards. These plastic devices allow the longer tongues of hummingbirds to reach the nectar. Bee guards prevent shorter insect tongues from reaching the nectar. Replace any dripping feeders.

You can also do things to discourage ants from getting to your feeders. Laundry detergent applied with a paintbrush will work. Paint whatever surface the ants use to gain access to the feeder (but not the feeder itself). The solution interferes with the ants’ chemical navigation. Refresh the application several times the first day. After a few days you won’t need it anymore.

Q: Is it true that hummingbirds at my feeder will not migrate if I leave my feeder up in fall?

A: No. This is another in a long line of bird myths. Birds are genetically programmed to migrate when their internal “clocks” tell them to do so. They will depart when the time is right whether your feeders are up or not. Leaving your feeders up in fall and getting them up early in spring may help early or late migrants that are passing through your area.

 Q: Why does our male hummingbird fly in a U-shaped pattern?

A: This is the pendulum display flight of a male to a perched female. He zips back and forth and flashes his ruby throat (gorget) at her, hoping to impress her into mating with him. It is common to see this behavior in early summer.

Q: How do I foil a “bully” hummer?

A: Most hummingbird species defend feeding territories, and assemblages at feeders usually develop hierarchies. The behavior exemplifies natural selection at work, and you should do nothing except enjoy it. If you’re worried about hungry hummingbirds, put up several more feeders near your original one. The bully will be overwhelmed by sheer numbers of other birds and will quit being so territorial.


TueSep200922

Birdwatching Colorado River Report

This is part of a report from the  Austin Bastrop River Corridor.  This area of the Colorado River is about 30 minutes West of Smithville

 September Travis County River Monitoring Trip Results – Sept 5 –

 Location:     Austin Colony – Webberville

Observation date:     9/5/09

 

 

It rained on us; first thing when we were doing the shuttle.  The river was a dirty brown muddy color and running fairly quick.  We think there was lots of runoff from last nights rain over downtown that filled up Waller Creek and Shoal Creek.  After the rain we were treated with overcast skies for the rest of the ride down to Webberville.  For the first time in a long time I did not use any suntan lotion.  Oh birds, you want to hear about the birds.

 

We have three very good sightings for the day.  While still preparing our boats at the put-in a Tricolored Heron flew upstream.  Later in the morning we got an Anhinga.  Finally there was that Olive-sided Flycatcher, we will put that one in the good sightings list also.  We also got a Yellow Warbler and several Empidonax Flycatchers.  Owls are always fun and we got two Great Horned Owls.

 

In the migrant column we got Baltimore Orioles, Yellow Warbler and Empidonax Flycatchers.

 

In the ‘we-should-of’ category we missed most ducks and we had no migrating hawks.

 

In all we got 49 species.

 Number of species:     49

 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck     1

Anhinga     1

Great Blue Heron     12

Great Egret     5

Snowy Egret     6

Little Blue Heron     2

Tricolored Heron     1

Green Heron     24

Black Vulture     32

Turkey Vulture     28

Osprey     1

Red-shouldered Hawk     4

Crested Caracara     4

Killdeer     3

Spotted Sandpiper     28

White-winged Dove     48

Mourning Dove     8

Yellow-billed Cuckoo     3

Great Horned Owl     2

Chimney Swift     7

hummingbird sp.     2

Belted Kingfisher     5

Red-bellied Woodpecker     14

Downy Woodpecker     3

Olive-sided Flycatcher     1

Empidonax sp.     3

Great Crested Flycatcher     3

Western Kingbird     11

Eastern Kingbird     8

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher     3

White-eyed Vireo     26

Blue Jay     6

American Crow     14

Northern Rough-winged Swallow     6

Cliff Swallow     12

Barn Swallow     100

Carolina Chickadee     26

Black-crested Titmouse     16

Carolina Wren     22

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher     18

Eastern Bluebird     9

Northern Mockingbird     5

Yellow Warbler     1

Northern Cardinal     78

Red-winged Blackbird     25

Common Grackle     26

Great-tailed Grackle     12

Baltimore Oriole     18

House Finch     2


TueJan200913

In Smithville TX Bird Watching is Big

Bird Watching in Smithville, TX

Although we have bird feeders in our garden, here at the Katy House Bed & Breakfast, the birds love all the sunflower blooms and other blooming plants.  To see a large number of different species, I head to the state park. We are lucky to have two state parks nearby. Buescher State Park is three miles from Katy House, and Bastrop State Park is 13 miles away.  The Bastrop County Audubon Society is an active group. See the link below, showing the many species found in our parks.  http://www.bastropcountyaudubon.org/checklist.htm

Bastrop-Buescher State Parks Christmas Bird Count A Huge Success

The Bastrop-Buescher State Parks CBC was held on Thursday, January 1, 2009. There were nearly 50 counters, which is a record. There were 120 species counted, which is the second highest count. Highlights included the Least Grebe and all three Kingfisher species.