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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hummingbirds at feeders; who's who?

The two main species of Hummingbirds in north Texas are fairly easy to tell apart near a nectar feeder. The Black-chinned Hummingbird pumps its tail up and down when hovering;  the Ruby-throated Hummingbird doesn’t. This is true of juveniles too, although the coloration may be different.
A well-built feeder should not drip, attracting wasps and such. In Texas’ hot weather, a feeder is more likely to drip if you fill it with cold nectar and place it outside when the air is very hot.
I recommend a nectar-mix of 4 parts water and 1 part sugar. Hummingbirds need a 4:1 mix as much for the water as for the sugar. They’ll eat a richer mixture, but won’t be getting the correct hydration and energy they need to stay healthy.
 
More Whooping Cranes     The number of endangered Whooping Cranes in Texas is at a record level. In a recent census of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas, the total number actually seen was 260.  It’s estimated that at least 4 Cranes are still migrating.  Two more are with Sandhill Cranes near Aransas. 
So the total visible flock size is 266.  It consists of an estimated 140 adults, 87 subadults, and 39 juveniles. These are the endangered cranes at Aransas, and doesn’t include, of course, ones that weren’t seen, so there are very likely more.
 
 
OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton. 

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