So today is World Migratory Bird Day–at least in the US and Canada. It is celebrated on the second Saturday in May, though if you live in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central or South America it is celebrated on the second Saturday in October.
I decided to look through all the pictures that I have taken over the past two years (give or take six months) and make a collage of all the migratory birds that have passed through the central part of Oklahoma.
So far I have managed to spot 28 different birds.
Those birds include (going from top left to bottom right):
Plus the one that I somehow forgot to add to the collage: the cliff swallow.
So, technically then the number of migratory species seen is actually at 29.
Several of these birds already have their own page under the bird tab, and those that don’t will be getting their pages added throughout the year.
I’ve decided that a goal for the late spring/summer season is to see how many other songbirds I can spot at Boomer Lake, and a goal for the fall/winter is to get up there earlier in the day and see how many other duck species I can spot that are only stopping briefly during their migration to their winter grounds.
Did you know that the Oklahoma state bird is only present in the state during late spring to early fall? Do you know what the state bird of Oklahoma is (hint–it’s within the collage)?
So I managed to get caught up on the bird section of the website this week.
The last of the diurnal raptor pages was added–for the osprey, including information on the family (Pandionidae).
There are 24 diurnal raptors within the Acciptriformes order that can be spotted within North America. I’ve gotten pictures of six of them (so basically a quarter of them). While there are two other groups of raptors that are also consider diurnal–they’re in separate orders, and therefore will be having their own pages added throughout the year.
I also added in the pages for the order (Apodiformes) and family (Trochilidae) for the ruby-throated hummingbird as well this week. In terms of this group–there are twenty-two species (between two families), and I’ve only spotted one of them (the ruby-throated hummingbird).
So now that I’ve caught up with the orders and families of the birds I originally posted starting last fall, now I will be continuing to add more orders/families/species to the section throughout the year.
One hope is that with currently two vaccines for the SARS-CoV2 pandemic being available, I should hopefully be eligible to get the vaccine by late summer/early fall. This means that I might be able to plan a trip for sometime in 2022 or 2023–which hopefully means somewhere new, and possibly spotting more birds and continuing to increase my personal bird sighting (and photograph) list–which currently is sitting at about 90 different species.
I currently have 21 species pages posted (32 pages, when including the order and family)–which means I have basically 70-90 pages still to add to the section. I just haven’t decided which of the remaining thirteen orders I’m going to go with–but will start with another order within the next two weeks.
So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the ruby-throated hummingbird.
I’ve always been intrigued by hummingbirds—they’re small, quick, and they beat their wings constantly.
Lately, I’ve also been trying to remember that when I was younger I felt a little like a hummingbird.
In that I could dive into a subject, immerse myself, learns as much as I could and then move on.
I did this for class projects: there was the paper over the Culture of India (and I covered everything from architecture to music to philosophy), to diving into the history of Peru (though I don’t think I ever wrote a paper over this—so that may be something to go back to) and medieval England.
I’ve always been fascinated with birds—I have quite a few bird encyclopedias in my storage unit, plus numerous articles that I had clipped out of the papers as I was growing up to make a scrap book on them.
So what does fascination with birds, culture and history of other countries, and everything else have to do with hummingbirds?
When I had taken the Clifton Strength Assessment test back in both 2017 and 2019, my top strength was learner.
This trait fits people who have a love of learning (though they have to be drawn to the topic), love digging into new things, love researching topics and ideas and gathering information.
These individual have been likened to hummingbirds in that they will deeply investigate on subject before moving on to another—similarly how hummingbirds will investigate flowers for their nectar before going to the next flower.
Until I took the test and saw the top strength as learner—I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed learning, reading, investigating, and putting the information together in some format.
Getting my undergraduate degrees took awhile—because I was ‘bouncing’ between ‘flowers’ (aka different subjects)—but I did manage to get my two degrees and minor (though now looking back, I should have taken that last six hours of sociology to get that minor as well).
Graduate school, allowed me to dive deeply into a subject that was still fairly new and I was learning different techniques and systems. The first postdoc was where the love of learning started to dwindle—while the topic was slightly different from grad school—what I was being taught really wasn’t, and therefore I got bored (only realizing now, exactly why I was getting bored so early—if I had realized it then, things might have gone differently had I asked for either another project or figured out a way to strike up a collaboration with another lab).
The second postdoc allowed me to dive into another system and I learned quite a bit—though I didn’t like being told to read up on other things in my spare time. I learned in both staff positions—more so in the first (only because I was working with undergrads in several different labs on several different projects) than the second. It has taken about ten months of self-reflection to realize that one of the problems that I had with the last position—I was bored; while I had been told I could ‘collaborate’ with other labs on projects, the only labs I could think of would have required me doing experiments and those aren’t something that you can schedule to only take 1 to 2 hours a day.
As I now move forward—I have to remember that I’m like a hummingbird, where there needs to be ample ‘flowers’ around for me to sample; I may hang around one or two longer than others, but at least I won’t get bored.
This is something that I will keep in the forefront as I start looking towards either my industry transition or freelancing/working for myself–I need variety to keep busy–so for me (at least mentally) it is better to be both a jack-of-all-trades and a ‘specialist’.
Have you taken the Clifton Strength Assessment Test? What was your top strength?
So I decided to go with a duel picture today—at one point this summer I managed to get a picture of both the ruby-throated hummingbird and a squirrel eating at the same time.
I think that the hummingbird wanted to make sure that the squirrel wasn’t going to try to slurp out any of the sugar water, before it started drinking.
The feeder that the squirrel is feeding on is suppose to be “squirrel-proof”, and between them and the raccoons—they have managed to get the feeder on the ground at least half a dozen times. We actually have a loop of picture-frame wire as a connector between the hook and the bird feeder. Either the squirrels (or the raccoon) had figured out how to twirl the feeder to get the lid off—so the feeder is also slightly dented in a couple of locations.
The squirrels have found that they can either lie across the top of the feeder to try to pull out seeds, or better yet sit on the tray and slowly pull out the seeds. While the feeder is not longer totally squirrel proof—it is a little too heavy for them to carry off (in the past I’ve had to hunt for other feeders), but the mesh is small enough that it deters them from gorging on the seeds.
The hummingbird feeder is filled with basically boiled sugar water (1 part sugar/4 parts water—1/2c sugar to 2c water), and changed at least once a week—more often during the hottest days of the summer (when it bubbles out).
Since today is National hummingbird day—the winner of the photography challenge is the hummingbird.
There are currently over 300 species of hummingbirds in the western hemisphere with at 150 of them living within the equatorial belt (which is ranges from ten degrees north of the equator to ten degrees south of the equator).
Of the approximate 150 species living outside the equatorial belt, there are only twenty-three that venture north into North America: Mexico, the United States and Canada. This is also usually only during the spring and summer, then they make the return flight south to warmer climates for the winter.
Then of the twenty-three species that make it north, they spread out to where you may only see one species in one part of the country, but if you head towards another area, you may see three or four.
For Oklahoma, there are three species that can be found in some part of the state: the ruby-throated hummingbird, the black-chinned hummingbird, and the rufous hummingbird (though this one mostly just flies through).
Though since Stillwater is in the north central part of the state (and probably could be considered north-east central), we really don’t see the black-chinned hummingbird as it is more common western part of the state (particularly in the southwest corner and the panhandle). So until it moves further east due to climate changes, we might get the sporadic one coming through—but for the most part we will mainly have the ruby-throated hummingbirds.
One goal may be to see how many of the other hummingbirds I can spot when I travel—though if I do any traveling into forests (specifically rain forests)—they will be extremely hard to spot, as animals have a tendency to avoid humans at all costs.
The winners of today’s photography challenge are the birds. I managed to get candid pictures of several different birds over the weekend.
For starters—there is the nuthatch that was feeding on the suet feeder. While I managed to get several good pictures—the one I like the most is the one of it with a sunflower seed in it’s beak. It then quickly flew off to the trees to crack the seed and eat it.
The next one is a hummingbird that was sitting in the crepe myrtles by the feeder. I was calling it the “goth” hummingbird. The main reason, is it was so cloudy I couldn’t tell for certain if it was a male ruby-throated hummingbird or maybe a male black-chinned hummingbird migrating through. Though this is the first time I’ve seen one where the entire head looked black.
This one was around all weekend–I’m thinking that now anytime I see a male hummingbird that I can’t identify, I’m going to be calling them the “goth” hummingbirds.
Several egrets have landed in the area before heading further south. I think that they wait until they have a good number in the flock before they continue on their journey. I saw three of them this weekend in different parts of the lake. I know from my late-winter/early-spring walks there can be upwards of a good fifteen or twenty of them flocking together. So it will be interesting to see how many more show up before they all head south for the winter.
So there were numerous Mississippi kites up at the lake this weekend. Usually I would only see maybe one or two off in the distance hunting–but this weekend I would swear I saw a good two dozen kites throughout the area. There was this young one sitting in the tree, taking a break from hunting dragonflies and other insects.
Then I saw this one across the street, sitting and watching another portion of the lake for dragonflies and other flying insects. Since it is getting close to the time that they will start heading south–the youngsters are out hunting, instead of sitting near the nest waiting on mom and dad to bring back dead insects for them to eat.
Hopefully this coming weekend, I will be able to get a couple more pictures of them before they head south for the winter. It will also be interesting to see how many of them come back to the area in the spring.