Canadian sapsuckers help hummingbirds, video


This video says about itself:

Remarkable contribution to hummingbird survival made possible by sapsucker‘s feeding behavior in deciduous forests of North America.

A family of yellow-bellied sapsuckers seen in the footage, a type of woodpecker that lives in Eastern Canada, creates numerous tiny aligned holes in a tree deep enough to let sap out.

Trees in deciduous and broadleaf forests can sometimes be seen bearing hundred of these little holes that seem to have been made by an automated machine.

In a surprising display of the interaction between two different species in the wild, a [female ruby-throated] hummingbird is attracted to the freshly created sweet drink. It flies and hovers near it, sporadically plunging its tiny beak and visibly draining the content of the small holes. It comes in competition with a wide variety of bugs present in nature that are also attracted to the sugar-filled drink that begins leaking out of the tiny holes.

Returning sapsuckers also drink from the previously made holes while resting in place. They sometimes take advantage of the opportunistic tiny meals that are the careless ants walking around and straight to their death.

The extraordinary behavior displayed by the ruby-throated hummingbird to insure a proper diet can perhaps explain why so many nectar-drinking birds can thrive in an environment with a lack of it.

The footage was filmed in 4K Ultra High Definition in late August in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Late August is just before the ruby-throated hummingbird will be on a long autumn migration journey. The extra energy is welcome.

The yellow-bellied sapsuckers will then go south as well. I saw this species in Cuba.

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Hummingbird, motmot, squirrel in Panama


This video says about itself:

Rufous Motmot Nips Variegated Squirrel That Comes Too Close – Jan. 6, 2018

In an interesting interspecies interaction, a Rufous Motmot lets a Variegated Squirrel know how close is too close on the Panama fruit feeders.

Watch LIVE 24/7 with highlights and viewing resources at http://allaboutbirds.org/panamafeeders

The Panama Fruit Feeder Cam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Canopy Family, and explore.org.

This video says about itself:

New Cam Species: Stripe-throated Hermit | Panama Fruit Feeder Cam – Jan. 6, 2018

The Stripe-throated Hermit is a tiny tropical hummingbird with pointed, white-tipped central tail feathers. Note the black mask over the eye, bordered by white stripes on the supercillium and malar, and bright cinnamon underparts. Despite being commonly found in the understory of a variety of humid habitats around Panama, this is the first individual we’ve spotted in front of the Panama Fruit Feeder cam at Canopy Lodge.

Meanwhile, below the hummingbird feeder, a rufous motmot and a clay-coloured thrush.

Hummingbirds’ mating season displays, new study


This video from the USA says about itself:

Broad-tailed Hummingbird – Colorado Rocky Mountains

Nature and birds of Snowmass Village, Colorado (late June/July [2012]). Featured closeup of Broad-tailed Hummingbird (at 2:50). Opening scenes from the ridge on Hanging Valley Wall looking south to Sievers Mountain and west to Willoughby Mountain, Clark Peak, and Hagerman Peak. Birds shown are Horned Lark, Eremophila alpestris; Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus; Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula; male Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Selasphorus platycerus; Cordilleran Flycatcher, Empidonax occidentalis; House Wren, Troglodytes aedon; American Robin adult and juvenile, Turdus migratorius; Slate-colored Fox-Sparrow, Pasarella iliaca; MacGillivray’s Warbler, Oporornis tomei.

From Princeton University in the USA:

Dive-bombing for love: Male hummingbirds dazzle females with a highly synchronized display

December 18, 2018

Summary: Male Broad-tailed Hummingbirds perform dramatic aerial courtship dives to impress females. In a new study, scientists have shown that diving males closely time key events to produce a burst of signals for the viewer. They synchronize maximal horizontal speed, loud noises generated with their tail feathers, and a display of their iridescent throat-patch (gorget), performed in a mere 300 milliseconds — roughly the duration of a human blink.

When it comes to flirting, animals know how to put on a show. In the bird world, males often go to great lengths to attract female attention, like peacocks shaking their tail feathers and manakins performing complex dance moves. These behaviors often stimulate multiple senses, making them hard for biologists to quantify.

Hummingbirds are no exception when it comes to snazzy performances, as males of many species perform spectacular courtship dives. Broad-tailed hummingbirds (Selasphorus platycercus) fly up to 100 feet in the air before sweeping down toward a perched female, then climb back up for a subsequent dive in the opposite direction. At the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, Colorado, home to a population of breeding broad-tailed hummingbirds, researchers from Princeton University have been investigating how hummingbirds combine speed, sound and color in their displays. Their work appears in the Dec. 18 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

“The dives are truly amazing feats for such small birds”, said Benedict Hogan, a postdoctoral research associate in ecology and evolutionary biology and the study’s lead author. “We know from previous work that the males can reach really high speeds. They combine that speed with intriguing noises generated by their wing and tail feathers, and of course with their brightly iridescent plumage.” But how do these different components fit together, and what might a dive sound like and look like to a female?

To explore this, Hogan and Mary Caswell Stoddard, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and the study’s senior author, created video and audio recordings of 48 dives performed by wild male broad-tailed hummingbirds. They then used image-tracking software to estimate each male’s trajectory and speed throughout the dive. Combining these estimates with the audio data, the researchers measured the precise time at which the males produce a mechanical “buzz” with their tail feathers.

To incorporate information about iridescent plumage color, which is difficult to extract from the video recordings, the team headed to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Using a multi-angle imaging technique and an ultraviolet-sensitive camera, they photographed broad-tailed hummingbird specimens. Hummingbirds are tetrachromatic — their eyes have four color cones, one of which is sensitive to ultraviolet wavelengths — so by combining the photographs with a model of hummingbird color vision and details of the U-shaped flight path, the researchers were able to estimate a female “bird’s-eye view” of the male’s iridescent throat feathers.

Putting it all together, Hogan and Stoddard could determine how the events in a hummingbird’s dive unfold.

“We discovered that the most dramatic aspects of the dive — high speed, the mechanical buzz and a rapid iridescent color change — happen almost all at once, just before the male soars past the female”, said Stoddard. “These aerial acrobats deliver an in-your-face sensory explosion.”

First, the male starts the tail-generated buzz. Then his bright red throat feathers become visible to the female and quickly appear to change to black, due to his speed and orientation. During this time, the male reaches top horizontal speed. Because of his high speed, the researchers estimate that a female will perceive an upward and then downward shift in pitch as he approaches and departs.

“This is due to the Doppler effect, the same phenomenon responsible for the perceived change in pitch as a car with its horn blaring drives past you,” said Hogan.

All of these key events occur in a 300-millisecond window, roughly the duration of a human blink.

How much does the timing matter to females? That needs more study, say the researchers. For now, they can only hypothesize about the different elements of the dive display. The tightly synchronized moves might provide information about the male’s health or tap into a female’s aesthetic preferences. Whatever the explanation, the team emphasized the importance of considering timing and motion in animal courtship signals.

“In the real world, many animals strut their stuff in complex, dynamic ways”, said Stoddard. “Whether it’s a diving hummingbird or a dancing peacock spider, we need to account for motion and orientation to understand how these remarkable displays evolved.”

Hummingbirds at urban feeders, new study


This 2016 video says about itself:

When this man peered out his window, he discovered that a swarm of hummingbirds had overtaken his front yard to feast at the feeders that he hung.

From the University of California – Davis in the USA:

Tiny tech tracks hummingbirds at urban feeders

Method shows around-the-clock interactions, gives insight into hummingbird health

December 12, 2018

Summary: Urban hummingbird feeders are highly prevalent. Researchers want to understand the health implications for birds congregating and sharing food resources at these bird buffets. Data from a new study using RFID technology is one piece of that puzzle.

“Beep” is not a sound you expect to hear coming from a hummingbird feeder. Yet “beeps” abounded during a study led by the University of California, Davis to monitor hummingbirds around urban feeders and help answer questions about their behavior and health.

For the study, published today in the journal PLOS ONE, veterinary researchers tagged 230 Anna’s and Allen’s hummingbirds with passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags and recorded their visits to feeders equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) transceivers. This is the same technology animal rescue shelters use when placing microchips under the skin of cats and dogs so they can be tracked if lost.

Similar to when a grocery item is swept across a supermarket scanner, little beeps sounded each time a hummingbird fluttered inside one of the study’s feeder stations. This gave researchers around-the-clock information about how often individual hummingbirds visited the feeders and how long they stayed there.

Such information can help explain how hummingbirds interact with each other at feeders, as well as inform veterinarians about potential disease transmission that could occur from such interactions.

In the wild, hummingbird species do not tend to directly interact much with each other. But with urban feeders, that dynamic changes.

“Hummingbird feeders attract birds to gather in areas where they normally wouldn’t congregate”, said co-leading author Lisa Tell, a professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “This is a human-made issue, so we’re looking at how that might change disease transmission and dynamics in populations.”

FREQUENT FLYERS

RFID technology has been used to monitor hummingbirds before, but this is the first time it has been used to monitor multiple hummingbirds at feeders at the same time, which is critical when studying their interactions.

The study, conducted September 2016 to March 2018, recorded about 65,500 visits to seven feeding stations across three California sites. These included the UC Davis Arboretum Nursery, a private home in Winters and The Gottlieb Native Garden in Beverly Hills. More than 60 percent of the tagged birds returned to feeders at least once — some immediately, some months later. During spring and summer, most visits occurred in the morning and evening hours.

Behavioral differences by gender were also recorded. Females tended to stay longer at feeders than the males. And males overlapped their visits with other males more frequently than with other females.

“It’s the first time we were able to truly quantify not only the time spent at feeders but also time spent co-mingling with fellow hummingbirds at these feeders”, said co-leading author Pranav Sudhir Pandit of the UC Davis EpiCenter for Disease Dynamics within the School of Veterinary Medicine.

THE SCIENCE ON BACKYARD FEEDERS

Science has yet to make an informed judgment call on whether backyard hummingbird feeders are “good” or “bad” for hummingbirds. The authors note that planting native plants known to attract hummingbirds, such as salvias and those with tubular-shaped flowers, provide a clear benefit to the birds. But given that urban hummingbird feeders are highly prevalent, researchers want to understand the health implications for birds congregating and sharing food resources at these bird buffets. Data from the study is one piece of that puzzle.

“The aggregation of hummingbirds in urban habitats due to feeders is the new normal and now it’s time to understand the implications of this”, said co-leading author Ruta Rajiv Bandivadekar, a visiting research scholar in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

SMALL CHALLENGES

Before she was tagging hummingbirds, Bandivadekar was radio collaring tigers to monitor their movements at a national park in India. The collar itself weighed about 5 pounds, whereas a hummingbird’s entire body is about 5 grams, the weight of a nickel.

Their small size is the main reason finding the proper technology to monitor hummingbirds can be challenging. For instance, before the study, researchers weren’t sure they could successfully tag and monitor Allen’s hummingbirds, a smaller species the Audubon Society has determined to be a “climate endangered” bird.

Regulations require that tracking devices weigh no more than 3 percent of an animals’ body weight, a maximum Tell and colleagues did not want to risk approaching. But the efficient use of PIT tags is providing valuable insight into their movements and behaviors, which could ultimately help their health and conservation in a changing landscape.

A new study is one of the first to address the potential for sugar water from hummingbird feeders to act as a vector for avian — or even zoonotic — pathogens. It found that the majority of microbes growing in feeders do not likely pose a significant health hazard to birds or humans: here.

Green hermit hummingbird at Panama feeder


This 30 November 2018 video says about itself:

New Cam Species: Green Hermit on the Panama Fruit Feeder Cam at Canopy Lodge | Cornell Lab

With a flutter and a dip of its bill, this Green Hermit became the first of its species to visit the Panama Fruit Feeder cam.

Green Hermits are relatively large hummingbirds of the Neotropics. Adults are sexually dimorphic: females are more strongly patterned than males, and have more elongated central tail feathers. Both sexes have a long, decurved bill, a tawny streak in the center of the throat, and elongated central tail feathers with white tips.

Watch LIVE 24/7 with highlights and viewing resources at http://allaboutbirds.org/panamafeeders.

Rivoli’s hummingbird in Texas, USA


This video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

Male Rivoli’s Hummingbird Sparkles While Sipping Nectar – Oct. 5, 2018

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all look this majestic while eating a meal? It comes naturally for the male Rivoli’s Hummingbird. In the right lighting, these hummers reveal their spectacular metallic teal throat patch and purple crest. It’s not surprising that this species was known as Magnificent Hummingbird from the 1980s until 2017.