ARTISTS AND BIRDS

"What Birders Do"

Magnificent Hummingbird:

        Do you know what most birders do? When they see a rare bird, they have to tell everyone. And, then they have to search their email each day to see if anyone else has found a rare bird in the area. There’s a whole network of ‘intensely eager’ birders in Utah looking out windows, in trees, up cliffs, into fields, along streams and marshes hummertrying to find that rare bird. Birders with binoculars hung around their neck and a bird book stuck in their pocket, having ‘the time of their lives’.

        Birdwatching is one of the fastest growing sports in America. It takes skill to match a bird with its habitat, in the right season, with the use of pictures and written descriptions. The right equipment is important, like binoculars, with clear up close and distance views, to enhance identification. Friends are important too. Friends who know birds, love birds, and enjoy sharing their knowledge. Birders of America are the eyes for the Biologists, Scientists, Environmentalists, and Economists. Birders see what’s happening outdoors not only to animal life, but to plant life and habitat. This fast growing sport is important to all of us, as well as a good excuse for spending more time outdoors.

        Today was Judy Jordan’s ‘find a rare bird’ day. And what a find . . . the Magnificent Hummingbird stopped at her feeder in New Harmony, on its migration route to spend the winter in Mexico! This Hummer is the second largest found in the U.S. with the male weighing in at 7.7 gm. Magnificent Hummers occur in limited areas of the southwest U.S. and rarely in southern Utah. This Hummer has spectacular plumage. The adult male appears very dark green overall, until the iridescence of the plumage appears to flash blue and purple when illuminated with sunlight. The adult male has a purple forehead and crown with a tiny white spot behind the eye. It has a dark green back, a metallic green gorget, and a black breast. The disguise of the female is an olive green back and crown, a gray breast and throat with faint streaking, and pearl-gray tips on the outer tail feathers. This large hummingbird flies more slowly than the smaller hummers. Sometimes it will even glide. It’s easy to get it mixed up with other species because it is rarely seen.

        Keith Davis is the artist for the Magnificent Hummingbird, drawn with color pencils. Watch carefully as Hummers migrate through to warmer climates. You might see a Magnificent! If you have questions about birds or upcoming Red Cliffs Audubon activities (Oct. 13, 7:00 -Raptors of Southern Utah) or (Oct. 16, 8:00, Field Trip to Quail Lake/Grandpa’s Pond/Red Cliffs Recreation Area), call 435 673-0996.

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