Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
Follow by Email
Sunday, May 6, 2012
The harsh challenge of crossing open water
Migrating birds often have to cross large expanses of open water with no place to stop and rest. No place to re-supply food either. Most Hummingbirds do this twice a year (although some fly along the coast). Some die trying to cross the Gulf, and the ones that make it are much skinnier and are starving when they arrive.
Purple Martin is another north Texas species that crosses the Gulf during migration. They need to fly non-stop for 72 hours, travelling around 660 miles a day. That's equivalent to a human running at a 4-minute-mile pace for 80 hours straight.
Robins are eating machines. Researchers estimate that each brood of nestling American Robins eats about 3.2 pounds of food. Since they're "insectivores" that means eating only insects (and worms). While in the nest (an average of 13 days) each one grows from 5.5 grams to 56 grams - over 1000 percent! On its last day in the nest, a nestling may eat 14 feet of worms, or whatever else the territory produces.