ARTISTS AND BIRDS

By Marilyn and Keith Davis

"Where’s It Gonna Show Next?"

Anna’s Hummingbird

        Are you aware that St. George, Washington, Santa Clara, Ivins, Leeds, and Hurricane have Hummingbirds in winter? Not just any Hummingbird, but Anna's Hummingbird. When an Anna’s was first seen in St. George, it was a “rare” bird. Then it was a “try to find” bird. Now it’s a “where’s it gonna show next” bird. Besides nectar, they eat insects, spiders, and sap. Anna’s Hummingbirds consume more insects than any other North American
anna's hummingbirdhummingbird. They can consume up to 50% of their body weight in nectar each day. When they find spider webs, they will pluck any spiders and insects trapped there. When temperatures are cold, Anna’s Hummingbirds gradually gain weight during the day as they convert sugar to fat. Hummingbirds with inadequate stores of body fat or insufficient plumage are able to survive sub-freezing weather by lowering their metabolic rate and enter a state of torpor.

        Facts: It is estimated there are 1.5 million Anna’s Hummingbirds. They are one of only three permanent species of the US or Canada (Allen’s and Costa’s are the others). Anna’s Hummingbird wings beat about 40-50 times per second in flight. They fly about 25 mph in normal flight and up to 40 mph in a courtship dive. Their heartbeats at 1260 beats per minute. The nest is slightly bigger than a walnut, and the egg is about the size of a small jellybean.

        The colors of the Anna’s Hummingbird crown and throat appear to change when the male turns its head. From the side view, the head may look gray, but from a face-on view, the head is a brilliant red. Hummingbirds are a favorite. This tiny bird seems to delight just about everyone. Keep a look out, and if a "hummer" shows up at your place, count yourself lucky and give me a call at 435 673-0996.

        Marilyn Davis is the artist this week. Red Cliffs Audubon General Meeting is every second Wednesday, of each month, 7:00 pm at the Tonaquint Nature Center. Come meet new friends while you learn about the birds of southern Utah. Just a reminder: don't forget about the St. George Winter Bird Festival on January 27-31, 2011. See you there!

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