Feed Or Not?
Garden for Birds
Links & Stories


Flamingos Eating; they love eating together


Wild Birds Unlimited, SA

San Antonio, Texas. 14602 Huebner Rd., Suite 114. San Antonio, TX 78230

[off Huebner to the right at Olmos Creek Dr., just before NW Military Hwy.]
Phone: (210) 479-2473 Fax: (210) 479-7668 Email:
email: Store Hours: Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm Sun: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

For prices, see WBU products

Supreme Blend 20 lb $32.99
Oil Sunflower 20 lb $26.99
Choice Plus 20 lb $39.99

Seed Cylinder Bug, Nut & Berry 3 for $29.99 + $4.00 ea.
Nutty for Nuts seed cylinder 3 for $29.99
Woodpecker seed cylinder 3 for $29.99

Seed Cylinder Bug, Nut & Berry $14.99 ea
Nutty for Nuts seed cylinder $10.99 ea
Woodpecker seed cylinder $10.99
Naturally nuts no-melt suet cylinder 32 oz $8.99 ea Nuts & Berries suet cylinder 32 oz $9.99

Suet Cylinder feeder $10.99
Suet Nuts & Berries cake $3.99 [$0.34 per oz]
Naturally nuts suet cake $2.99 [$0.254 per oz]
Nuts & Berries suet cake $3.99

C&S Orange Delight No Melt Suet Dough For Wild Birds (Pack of 12) $24.25 - 11.75 oz cake X 12 = 141 oz = $0.142 per oz

C&S Peanut Delight, Pack of 12 No Melt Suet Dough $24.40 - 11.75 oz X 12 = 141 oz = $0.173 per oz

Suet Plus 12 Count Nuts and Berry Suet Cake $23.28 + Free Shipping I removed the glass panels from an old bird feeder and simply place one of these cakes right in the middle of the feeder - it works perfect and the birds love it. This way, nothing drops to the ground and my birds still have the safety of a cover/roof of a regular bird feeder. Also, in case it rains there's no mess because the cake pieces stay contained on the feeder.

F.M. Brown's Garden Chic Suet and Bread Cakes, 11-Ounce, Woodpecker's Delight 1.99 ea [vs $1.66 for C&S

Choice Plus contains oil sunflower, chopped tree nuts, sunflower chips, shelled peanuts, suet nuggets, safflower, striped sunflower, cherries and cranberries

For an annual membership fee of only $25, you'll receive 15% off regular, every day bird and wildlife food prices and an additional 5% off sale prices of bird and wildlife food at the Wild Birds Unlimited store of purchase.

Wildlife Blend 1.50/lb, 20 lbs for $29.99 [for birds, squirrels, et al.]

whole corn kernels, oil sunflower, peanuts in the shell, shelled peanuts and striped sunflower is bound to satisfy wildlife and birds alike
Deluxe Blend 1.35/lb, 20 lbs for $26.99
black oil sunflower, white millet, safflower and striped sunflower

Deluxe Blend Less Millet Bird Seed - 20 lbs for $28.99 [$1.45/lb]
full of black oil sunflower seeds, white millet, safflower and striped sunflower
Nyjer seeds 39.99 / 20 lbs. 14.99 / 5 lbs.
Blk oil sunflower 26.99 / 20 lbs. [1.25/lb] 9.99 / 5 lbs
Suet cakes are 2.99 & 3.99 per cake

Premium Oil Sunflower Bird Seed - 20 lbs for $26.99 [$1.35/lb]

Premium Oil Sunflower is a favorite of almost all seed-eating birds and the most common ingredient in our blends. Our Premium Oil Sunflower is a great source of energy for the birds and 99% free of sticks, stems or other foreign matter so your feeders won't clog with debris.

Deluxe Seed Cylinder (0235) $10.99

Tidy Cylinder Feeder (3839) $27.99

Great Blue Heron


Lockhill Feed 4927 Golden Quail, Suite 105 San Antonio, TX 78240 US Phone: 210-691-2351

Off Huebner, turn left. Open 8am-7pm weekdays, 11-4 Sun., 9-6 Sat.

Lockhill Bird Seed Valley Splendor Premium Bird Mix, 50 lbs for $15.50 [0.31/lb]
Mr. Bird Nut Cake Block, not sure
Audubon Supreme Wild Bird Mix, 40 lbs for 19.99 [0.50/lb]
Audubon Orange Delight Suet, $1.49 ea



Amazon: Orange Delight No Melt Suet Dough For Wild Birds by C&S $24.99 for 12 [11.75 oz ea] [$2.08 ea.]
Morning Song High Energy Suet Wild Bird Food, 11-Ounce $1.29
Wagner's 62059 Greatest Variety Blend, 16-Pound Bag $19.98 FREE Shipping for Prime members 10/1/16 suddenly $25! Cardinal Mirrored Feeder


Duncraft: Wild Bird Superstore
Duncraft blk, oil sunflowers 12.95 / 5 lbs. [2.60/lb]
Never Melt Suet Peanut 39.95/12 = 3.33 for 1 pkg.
nyjer seeds 17.95 / 5 lbs.
6.95 shipping

Birds Choice, blk oil sunflowers 6.95 / 5 lbs.
Suet no melt w/ peanuts 2.30 / 1 pkg
Nyjer seeds 14.95 / 5 lbs.
19.95 shipping

WBU: blk oil sunfllowers 9.99 5 lbs

Tractor Supply blk oil sunflowers 8.99 / 12 lb.

Birds Choice Special Seasonal Blend Bird Seed; Choice Peanut Suet no-melt; FedEx 19.95

prd seed, Minnesota blk oil sunfl 23.99 / 500 lbs. Nyjer seeds 48.80 / 20 ibs.

Sweney-Kern Bird Seed Manufacturer & Distributor, Michigan

blk oil sunflower seed 10.35 / 10 lb.
niger seed 17.99 / 8 lb.

Main Street seed & supply

blk oil sunflower seed 8.37 / 10 lb.
niger seed 17.68 / 10 lb.

Lyric Wild Bird Food

blk oil sunflower seed 11.89 / 10 lb.
niger seed 21.48 / 10 lb.

Seeds: Wild Bird Watching
Duncraft: Wild Bird Superstore
Wild Birds Forever
Bird Watchers' Digest

Female ruby throated humminbird



Alamo Area Chapter: Birds TAMU. There are a large number of bird species found in the Alamo Area Chapter area due to the number of ecoregions converging in the region.

There are a number of great places in the area to watch birds. See the San Antonio Audubon Society web site for a list of sites (PDF).

Birds of Bexar County Texas checklist

San Antonio Audubon Society

Facebook: National Bird-Feeding Society I am a huge fan of Suet and Safflower seed; I use these as my main Bird attractors. Suet that contains peanuts can attract All sorts of woodpeckers and Safflower Seed will attract more birds than you can get with the regular mixed seed in my opinion. I use a wide variety of feed but it all depends on what birds you are wanting to attract. Winter is right around the corner and in Texas winter is a time to put out thistle or Nyjer seed for Goldfinches.

Facebook: Project Feeder Watch


National Wildlife Federation

NWF Birds & Birding

Birds & Blooms mag.

All About Birds Cornell Univ. Online guide to birds and bird watching

Blog - Birds and Blooms

Wild Bird Watching

Links & Stories

Texas Ornithological Society

Sally's Backyard Birds--blog We love watching and feeding the birds that come to our yard and figured this could be a fun way of keeping track of all of the different ones that we see.

10 Ways to Deal With "Bully Birds" National Wildlife Federation

Video: Bird Migration across the Gulf of Mexico

Video: Top 10 Most beautiful birds in the world

mourning dove
Mourning Dove

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center 10 miles south of downtown San Antonio.

Mitchell Lake Wildlife Sanctuary Facebook page

Where The Birds Come From: The Push To Protect The Boreal Forest In the northern reaches of North America lies a vast forest that extends from interior Alaska all the way across Canada to Newfoundland and the Atlantic Ocean. It provides the breeding grounds for billions of migratory birds each summer and is home to around one-quarter of the world’s remaining untouched forests. North America’s boreal forest contains a treasure trove of internationally significant ecological values, and it’s also the focus of one of the most ambitious conservation efforts anywhere on Earth.

The combination of its intactness (about 80% is still relatively intact and free of industrial disturbance) and its vast networks of wetlands and waterways (millions of lakes large and small and around 25% of the world’s wetlands) makes this lush forest a summer breeding paradise for at least 325 bird species—nearly half of the species commonly found in the U.S. and Canada.

Palm Warbler

eBird from Zeiss.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is February 12-15, 2016

State of the Birds, 2014, USA

Sandhill Crane

Celebrate Urban Birds Cornell Ornithology.

Video: Beautiful Birds of Texas.mpeg music is Rossini's Figaro

Video: Bird Migration - Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

Travis Audubon - Travis County Backyard Birds

Great Horned Owl

Short-eared Owl

Video: mocking bird song Texas

Video: Texas State Bird- Mocking Bird

Video: Mockingbird Song Serenade

Video: OBX Mocking Bird imitates all kinds of birds including sea gulls........

Video: Quetzal, most beautiful bird of America


Feed or Not?

When It's Okay (or Not) to Feed Birds Providing food—for photography or simple enjoyment—can be a thorny issue. For guidance, ask yourself these three questions.

When I was younger, a mentor of mine gave me this advice: Before speaking, ask yourself the following three questions: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? I sometimes fall down on the job, but I aspire to follow these as best I can. When thinking through this issue, it occurred to me that, similarly, three questions could be applied to any bird-feeding situation. And that the answers could help guide decisions in a way that is best for both birds and people.

1. Is this species at risk?

If a bird is classified as “threatened,” “endangered,” or “of special concern,” that means it is struggling to survive. We must exercise extreme caution when making decisions that might affect that bird. Even if we have the best intentions, what we think might benefit a bird might actually cause unintended negative consequences.

A case in point: Florida Scrub-Jays. If you were to do a simple google search like “scrub-jay status Florida,” you would quickly find that this species is listed as vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN and as federally threatened. Fewer than 5,000 Florida Scrub-Jays remain. Their numbers have dropped by 90 percent over the past century, as the scrub and scrubby flatwoods they require have been fragmented and destroyed by development and agriculture.

Florida Scrub-Jay. Photo: Melissa Groo

Bird lovers quickly realized that Florida Scrub-Jays will come readily to the hand for peanuts. Unfortunately, studies have shown that jays fed by humans reproduce earlier in the year than those that are not. As a result, their fledglings hatch before the caterpillars they rely on for nutrition are available, leading to malnourishment and starvation. People also feed jays near roads, and collision with vehicles is a major cause of their death. Thus, it’s now illegal to feed Florida Scrub-Jays unless you have a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Snowy Owls are also in precipitous decline. Although there are a number of reasons why offering food, such as pet-store mice, to owls can be harmful, certainly the fact that this species is vulnerable to extinction, per the IUCN, makes feeding them particularly irresponsible and ill-advised.

In short, birds that have special population status due to their declining numbers should not be fed (unless, say, you’re a researcher working with appropriate permits). This advice is in line with the American Birding Association’s Code of Ethics.

2. Is the food appropriate and safely provided?

The most common place we offer food to birds is, of course, in our own backyards. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information on how to safely set up and maintain bird feeders. Providing feeders means taking on a responsibility, as in addition to food they can present a whole host of risks, including the spread of viruses and parasites, a greater chance of window strikes, and increased vulnerability to cats and raptors. But if best practices have been followed, research shows that feeders may actually help birds to survive and reproduce.

Of course, the healthiest, most natural food you can offer to attract birds to your yard are native trees and shrubs, such as serviceberry or crabapples, which are a longstanding food source for them. Plant species native to each part of the country can easily be looked up in Audubon’s native plants database.

Audubon Native Plants Database

One of the least healthy foods is also one of the most popular, especially in parks with resident waterfowl. Bread has little nutritional value and may cause an unhealthy condition referred to as “angel wing.” Opt instead for cracked corn or oats—in moderation, of course. Leftovers from overfeeding can contaminate water, spread diseases, and attract rodents.

3) Is feeding this bird likely to change its behavior in harmful ways?

Ask yourself: Might feeding this bird cause it to associate food with a particular place? Does it draw the bird closer to roads, for example, where it could be struck by a car? Feeding owls by the side of the road presents an obvious danger: Collisions with vehicles are a leading cause of death for owls, since they fly low over the ground and relatively slowly at times.

Snowy Owl. Photo: Melissa Groo

Feeding a bird might also lead it to trust people. Could that habituation eventually put it in danger? Does the bird migrate to a region where it’s not well understood, or where it’s hunted? The answer will be different for a bird of prey (possibly yes) than for a songbird at a feeder or for a chickadee hand-fed sunflower seeds in a preserve (probably no).

On the flip side, you should also ask whether feeding a bird might cause it to aggressively seek handouts from people. We’ve all seen gulls at the beach or swans in a park grab food out of someone’s hand. Once these birds begin to associate people with easy food, they can become bold and pesky. This both creates a hassle for people and poses a danger to the birds, as they gain a bad reputation and eventually may be harmed. Local ordinances and regulations may not permit feeding expressly because of these issues. There are also laws regarding feeding that govern our national park system, where it’s illegal to feed any wildlife.

You don't have to be a bird expert or conservationist to realize that birds today face a multitude of challenges. When thinking of offering food to birds, as nature photographers, birders, or nature lovers, each one of us can take a little time to do some research and to sensibly weigh the pros and cons of our choices. We can make informed decisions, and hopefully balance our desire to get the shot with what’s best for the birds.

Garden for Birds

Container Gardening to Attract Birds for berries try blueberry, chokecherry, Black Chokeberry, Pagoda Dogwood, Winterberry, Arrowwood Viburnum--photos on webpage. For seeds for birds try sunflower, coreopsis, Little blue Stem, Rudbeckia, cosmos, coneflower. For nectar to attract hummingbirds, try Trumpet creepers, Columbine.

Stunning Low-budget Container Gardens

Anna's Hummingbird

Providing Water for Birds Birds need fresh, clean water for drinking and bathing. Most birds drink water every day. They also seem to enjoy bathing to clean their plumage and remove parasites. Providing water improves habitat for birds and other animals, and increases your chances of observing their fun behaviors up close! You can attract more birds to your balcony, roof patio, or yard by including a birdbath, and few things are more attractive to them than a clean, well-maintained one.

Good birdbaths are similar to shallow puddles, the natural birdbaths in the wild for birds. Choose a shallow container that is easy to clean, such as an old frying pan, shallow baking pan, or plastic lids of large containers. If you have a yard, you could dig a shallow hole and line it with plastic or some other waterproof material. Although birds prefer water basins that are on the ground, consider if cats are a danger. If you think that a birdbath on the ground might be too tempting to cats, put the birdbath three or four feet off the ground. Place some sand in the bottom of the bath and arrange a few branches or stones in the container, so birds can stand on them and drink without getting wet. This is especially important in the winter when keeping body heat is essential for survival in the cold.

Western Scrub Jay

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Audubon Guide to North American Birds has bird songs for many species

Audubon Native Plants Database


Bird Watching in Texas Texas has preeminence as a bird-watching area due to its placement on major migratory paths. Has recently reported bird sightings

Black-capped Chickadee

Images of Texas Birds

Birds of Bexar County Texas checklist

San Antonio Audubon Society

Texas Birds Photo Gallery

PDF Texas Birds from Texas Parks and Wildlife... One of the best ways to learn to enjoy birds is by watching what comes to your own back yard. From the comfort of your back porch, you can see many of the birds shown in this booklet, depending on where your porch is. The availability of appropriate habitat features is the factor that will determine whether some of these species are present

Since habitat loss is a significant threat to the future of birds in our communities, the best way we can help birds is to replace or restore some of that habitat. This has worked very effectively with some species. In the early 1900s, bluebirds – especially Eastern Bluebirds – were nearly wiped out by a lack of effective nesting sites following the industrial revolution and the introduction of competitive foreign species. By putting back that habitat feature, in the form of a “bird house” in appropriate places, people were able to ensure that these birds will be enjoyed by our grand children for years to come.

You can do the same thing in your back yard. A “birdhouse,” depending on what plants are nearby, might be used by a chickadee, a wren, a fly-catcher, a woodpecker, or any number of other common species. Some birds do not use “birdhouses” though, and for these you may have to reintroduce some brush, some tall grasses, or even some trees to make them feel at home. As you learn more about the birds you enjoy, you will be able to change small things in your landscape that can make big differences in what birds you see.

Pine Warbler

What Bird .com identifying birds in Texas

Browsing Texas Birds

Video: Backyard Birds in Texas close-ups

Texas Birds

Name That Bird Name That Bird! is a free, wild bird identification service.

Whether you have just started to feed birds in your back yard or have been birding for years, identifying the birds you see is a large part of the fun and challenge of the hobby of bird watching. If you have a photograph of a bird you can not identify, we'll try to identify it for you.

Young Red Tailed Hawk



Wildscapes Texas Wildscapes is a habitat restoration and conservation plan for rural and urban areas. It enables Texans to contribute to wildlife conservation by developing wildlife habitats where they live, work and play. Through Wildscapes, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department encourages landowners to restore habitat, for birds, insects, reptiles and even small mammals, on their properties. These habitats must still abide by local and county onlinances, but small changes in our landscape can result in significant improvement in wildlife habitat.

San Antonio Wildscapes

Wildscapes: Design Tips Inventory your yard. Drought tolerant plants attractive to a variety of wildlife may already exist in your yard. ''t remove plants that require little maintenance or watering unless they detract from the design.

  • Know where possible gardening hazards exist before digging. Note buried utility lines or cables.
  • Reduce turf areas with wildscape or xeriscape plants, and replace St. Augustine grass (in full sun locations) with grasses such as Buffalo, Bermuda, or Zoysia.
  • Before installing plants, know their height at maturity. A four-inch potted plant may turn into a ten-foot shrub! This will avoid planting in the wrong locations.
  • Plant to create a multilayered effect. Offering tall, medium, and short plants grouped together in a tiered arrangement is very appealing to wildlife.
  • Include evergreen plants in your design. They keep their leaves year-round offering cover for wildlife throughout the year.
  • Choose a selection of plants that bloom or fruit at various times of the year, so there is always food for wildlife. Supplement with clean bird feeders if natural food sources are lacking or becoming established.
  • Add a water source to your landscape. It's important to offer clean water to wildlife year-round. Water can be provided easily in the form of a simple pan, birdbath, or shallow pool.
  • Snags, which are dead or dying trees, can be left standing to provide cavity nesting sites. Supplement with nest boxes when natural tree cavities are lacking.
  • Install berms or mounds, and use curved lines to add interest. Rock walls and logs can be attractive features while providing homes for butterflies, lizards, and other small wildlife.
  • Planting in the cool season (late fall or early spring ) will allow trees, shrubs, and hardy perennials to establish before the hot and dry summer. Nurseries often offer plant sales during the fall.
  • Use organic gardening techniques, including compost and organic sources of fertilizer, to supply nutrients to plants. Try spraying insect infestations with a forceful spray of water before resorting to pesticides.
  • Use two-four inches of mulch to reduce weeds and the need to water. Recycle leaves and grass clippings by composting or using as mulch.

Greater Roadrunner

Facebook Birds of Texas

South Texas Birds Facebook

Birds of Texas: Passport to Texas

Listening Library, Texas Birds

Passport to Texas Texas can boast of having more bird species - nearly 600 - than any other state or province in North America, according to the American Birding Association.

Some birds sighted in Texas occur nowhere else in the nation, and bird watchers from around the world flock to see them.

Biologically speaking, East meets West along a broad front running down the middle of Texas - through Dallas and Fort Worth, Waco, Austin, San Antonio and the lower Rio Grande Valley. East of that line, you find birds typical of the southeastern U.S. and northward to Minnesota and Maine. They are adapted to life in forests, rich blackland prairies and the coastal plain.

West of the line, the birds are more characteristic of Mexico, New Mexico and Arizona, and the migrants may be Rocky Mountain species. They, in turn, are at home in a more arid climate and in the limestone hills and rugged mountain ranges. Mexican birds inhabit the Rio Grande Valley, while Great Plains species are perfectly at home in the grasslands of the Panhandle.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Bird Species most common

August Photo Challenge 2015 birdsandblooms mag

Great Blue Heron at Galveston beach

Videos from Birds & Blooms mag.


Feeder Info. birds, feeders, feeds

Birdbath in Yard

Top 10 Foods for Winter Bird Feeding

Top 10 Things to do in Winter feeders check; switch to higher protein foods;

Bohemian Waxwing

Make Your Yard a Haven for Birds: The Four Basics

Wondering Where All Your Sunflower Seeds Are Going?

It's called caching—and lots of backyard birds do it. They know there's a long winter ahead, so they spend the fall ferrying seeds into hiding places (called caches) to come back to later on, when they're hungry. So if you've been pouring an endless amount of seeds into your feeders lately, visit Project FeederWatch for an enlightening post about seed-caching songbirds.

What are they doing with all those seeds? In late fall, chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches increase the rate at which they visit bird feeders, but they '’t eat the extra seeds they take right away. Instead, they hide the food in bark crevices, needle clusters, knotted branches, and other nooks and crannies near feeders. Birds will even store seeds in man-made structures—I once saw a white-breasted nuthatch hanging upside down from a gutter, tucking seeds beneath the siding of my house!

This behavior is called caching. By storing seeds, the birds ensure they will have something to eat later when food is scarce.

Caching has long been of interest to ornithologists and animal behaviorists, and their research has taught us some amazing things about the behavior and the birds that perform it.

In a 1984 paper in Animal Behavior, David Sherry reported the results of lab experiments which demonstrated that black-capped chickadees can not only remember where they have stored seeds, but also which caches they have already eaten, which caches they have discovered eaten by other animals, and which caches contain their favorite food items. Sherry also found that chickadees can remember the locations of their caches for 28 days after they have created them.

Two Tufted Titmice enjoying some seeds from a pumpkin. Will they eat those seeds or cache them? Photo by Karen Linehan in Boston, MA.

These adaptations for efficient food storage and recovery take a lot of brain power. Chickadees have relatively large hippocampi (a part of the brain important for spatial memory) compared with other birds, and they even grow extra neurons (brain cells) in the fall when they are busiest creating and remembering new caches.

Chickadee caching is impressive, but Clark’s nutcrackers—relatives of jays and crows found in the mountains of western North America—take caching to a whole new level. These birds can establish thousands of caches containing a total of 100,000 seeds in a single year.

Nutcrackers are also important seed dispersers for a number of tree species. When a nutcracker forgets to return and eat a cache, the seed may germinate into a young tree. Whitebark pines in particular are reliant on nutcrackers to move their seeds around the landscape.

So next time you see a chickadee fly away from your feeder with a sunflower seed, watch closely and see if he hides it nearby—'’t let him see you though: chickadees are less likely to cache seeds when they know potential thieves are watching!

Fall Berries for Birds These 5 easy-to-grow shrubs, trees and vines provide berries for birds in the fall and winter: American Beautyberry shrub (Callicarpa americana), Coral Honeysuckle vine (Lonicera sempervirens), Firebush shrub (Hamelia patens), Southern Wax Myrtle tree or lg. shrub (Myrica cerifera), Yaupon Holly shrub or tree (Ilex vomitoria). All grow in zones 7-10 in sun or shade.


5/30/18 Cowbirds seem to be dominating the feeders. They have a raucous call and their behavior is also raucous.

Brown-headed Cowbird

Cowbirds [Carolina]

Giant Cowbird [Molothrus oryzivorus] ~ Shiny Cowbird

An Introduction to the Birds of Tropical America giant cowbird is first bird pictured

Female Cowbird ~ Brown-headed Cowbird

Ever since I started feeding birds again, the huge crowd of birds partaking of the bounty is usually sparrows and doves. The majority are white-winged doves and sparrows.

White-winged Doves

White-winged Doves White-winged Doves forage on waste grain and seeds on the ground, or take to trees to eat berries. In the Sonoran Desert, they eat many saguaro cactus fruits. They often gather in huge flocks for trips between roosting and foraging areas, as well as during migration. Their long, hooting “whoo-OOO-oo, ooo-oo” calls are an increasingly common sound in the southern U.S.

In the Sonoran Desert, nesting White-winged Doves eat mostly the nectar, pollen, fruit, and seeds of the saguaro cactus. They’re so dependent on the saguaro they time their migration and nesting to match its fruiting schedule. Saguaro seeds are the only small seeds that a White-winged Dove will bother with—possibly because they sit in a large, cup-shaped fruit that makes them easy to eat.

Like other doves and pigeons, White-winged Doves have some unusual abilities. They can suck and swallow water without moving their heads. And they use a secretion from the esophagus, known as crop milk, to feed nestlings. Both parents may consume snails and bone fragments to help their bodies create the nutritious fluid.

House Sparrows, Female & Male

House Sparrow Passer domesticus You can find House Sparrows most places where there are houses (or other buildings), and few places where there aren’t. Along with two other introduced species, the European Starling and the Rock Pigeon, these are some of our most common birds.

House Sparrows aren’t related to other North American sparrows, and they’re differently shaped. House Sparrows are chunkier, fuller in the chest, with a larger, rounded head, shorter tail, and stouter bill than most American sparrows.

House Sparrows are noisy sparrows that flutter down from eaves and fencerows to hop and peck at crumbs or birdseed.

Many people regard House Sparrows as undesirables in their yards, since they aren't native and can be a menace to native species. House Sparrows are so closely entwined with people's lives that you probably will find them around your home even without feeding them. They are frequent visitors to backyard feeders, where they eat most kinds of birdseed, especially millet, corn, and sunflower seed.

The House Sparrow was introduced into Brooklyn, New York, in 1851. By 1900 it had spread to the Rocky Mountains. Two more introductions in the early 1870s, in San Francisco and Salt Lake City, aided the bird’s spread throughout the West. House Sparrows are now common across all of North America except Alaska and far northern Canada.

The House Sparrow takes frequent dust baths. It throws soil and dust over its body feathers, just as if it were bathing with water. In doing so, a sparrow may make a small depression in the ground, and sometimes defends this spot against other sparrows.

House Sparrows aggressively defend their nest holes. A scientist in 1889 reported cases of House Sparrows attacking 70 different bird species. House Sparrows sometimes evict other birds from nest holes, including Eastern Bluebirds, Purple Martins, and Tree Swallows.

House Sparrows in flocks have a pecking order much the way chickens in a farmyard do. You can begin to decipher the standings by paying attention to the black throats of the males. Males with larger patches of black tend to be older and dominant over males with less black. By wearing this information on their feathers, sparrows can avoid some fights and thereby save energy.

House Sparrows have been seen stealing food from American Robins and piercing flowers to drain them of nectar.

The oldest recorded House Sparrow was 15 years 9 months old.

House Sparrows eat mostly grains and seeds, as well as livestock feed and, in cities, discarded food. Among the crops they eat are corn, oats, wheat, and sorghum. Wild foods include ragweed, crabgrass and other grasses, and buckwheat. House Sparrows readily eat birdseed including millet, milo, and sunflower seeds. Urban birds readily eat commercial bird seed. In summer, House Sparrows eat insects and feed them to their young. They catch insects in the air, by pouncing on them, or by following lawnmowers or visiting lights at dusk.

House Sparrows hop rather than walk on the ground. They are social, feeding in crowded flocks and squabbling over crumbs or seeds on the ground. House Sparrows are a common sight at bird feeders; you may also see them bathing in street-side puddles or dustbathing on open ground, ruffling their feathers and flicking water or dust over themselves with similar motions. From living in such close company, House Sparrows have developed many ways of indicating dominance and submission. Nervous birds flick their tails. Aggravated birds crouch with the body horizontal, shove their head forward and partially spread and roll forward their wings, and hold the tail erect. This can intensify to a display with wings lifted, crown and throat feathers standing on end, tail fanned, and beak open. House Sparrows: Complex and Intriguing? House Sparrows offer another kind of adventure—of a more intellectual nature. And as one comes to know these birds intimately, they emerge as creatures both charming and mysterious.

Sparrows thus appear to manipulate flock size to their advantage—when food can be shared, it may be best to feed in a crowd that can detect danger sooner. But when food is not shareable, a crowd would lead to costly fights, and so it is better to feed alone.

For sparrows, even the simple routine of coming to your bird feeder has subtle complexities. If you look closely, you’ll notice that males have a patch of black on the throat called the bib, which differs in size from bird to bird. If you watch carefully, you would see that males with smaller bibs tend to give way to males with large bibs. Females also tend to lose preferred perches to males with big bibs, but will dispute such takeovers far more energetically than they do approaches by males with small bibs. Why females react like this is not yet known. Perhaps having a large bib indicates the male’s quality as a mate. There is evidence, however, that males with big bibs are better mates only some of the time. If this is true, then it may benefit females to confront such males and determine directly if they are as robust as they look.

I have heard the Brewer's Sparrow's song. But I am not sure I have seen one. They stick only to sagebrush, so probably not.

Brewer's Sparrows

Brewer's Sparrow Brewer’s Sparrows are at first glance so subtly marked that they’ve been called the “bird without a field mark.” These streaky, gray-brown sparrows are notable for their reliance on sagebrush breeding habitat, and their plumage is elegantly tuned to their muted, gray-green home. They’re the most abundant bird across the vast sagebrush steppe, and their long, trilling songs are a signature sound of the landscape.

On the breeding grounds, in spring and early summer, male Brewer’s Sparrows sing long, trilled songs from atop sagebrush. These sparrows forage in dense shrubs to glean insect food and tend to stay out of open areas. During fall and winter they often convene in large flocks with other Spizella sparrows. I also frequently see Grackles. Last year they made a nest in a neighboring tree and harassed our dog when she wandered under it.

Great-tailed Grackle The male’s tapered tail is nearly as long as its body and folds into a distinctive V or keel shape. Females are about half the size of males with long, slender tails.

You’ll often see Great-tailed Grackles with other blackbirds pecking for food on lawns, fields, and at marsh edges, vying for trash in urban settings, or crowding in trees and on telephone lines in noisy roosts.

Great-tailed Grackles / males displaying territorial bluffing at SA Botanical Garden

Great-tailed Grackle Diet: Omnivorous. Diet is extremely varied; includes many insects, also spiders, millipedes, snails, crayfish, tadpoles, small fish, lizards, eggs and nestlings of other birds, and sometimes adult birds. Also eats a wide variety of seeds, waste grain, berries, fruit, and nuts.

Great-tailed Grackle The great-tailed grackle or Mexican grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) is a medium-sized, gregarious passerine bird native to North and South America. A member of the family Icteridae, it is one of ten extant species of grackle and is closely related to the boat-tailed grackle and the slender-billed grackle

In Mexico, where it is known as the chanate or zanate, there is a legend that it has seven songs. "In the creation, the Zanate having no voice, stole its seven distinct songs from the wise and knowing sea turtle. You can now hear the Zanate's vocals as the Seven Passions (Love, Hate, Fear, Courage, Joy, Sadness, and Anger) of life." Mexican artisans have created icons in clay, sometimes as whistles that portray the sea turtle with the zanate perched on its back.

In Colombia, the species is called Maria mulata, and is the official bird of Cartagena de Indias. Cartagena artist, Enrique Grau, had an affinity for these birds and because of his inspiration many Colombian monuments and artistic works were created in honor of its intelligence, adaptability, cheerfulness, sociability and collaborative tendencies, diligence, craftiness, and ability to take advantage of adversity.

Boat-Tailed Grackle On average, the boat-tailed grackle weighs about 10% more than the closely related great-tailed grackle although the male of that species has an even longer tail.

The eye color of the boat-tailed grackle varies with range. Gulf Coast and inland birds have dark eyes, whereas Atlantic birds have pale eyes.

The boat-tailed grackle was once considered the same species as the great-tailed grackle. The great-tailed species is generally quite similar of slightly smaller body size, but has a longer tail and lacks this species' distinct domed head shape.

Boat-tailed grackles have established significant populations in several United States Gulf Coast cities and towns where they can be found foraging in trash bins, dumpsters, and parking lots.

This bird's song is a harsh jeeb, and it has a variety of typically grackle-like chatters and squeaks.

Great-tailed Grackles are very similar to Boat-tailed Grackles, but the two species overlap only along the western Gulf Coast. Where the two species overlap, Boat-tailed Grackles have dark eyes and Great-tailed Grackles have pale yellow eyes. Habitat is also helpful: Great-tailed Grackles are much more likely to be seen away from coasts, and they are now found across much of the inland West.

11/22/15 Briana saw a pair of Texas Wrens eating at the suet feeder. These were the first birds to show up and use that feeder!

Carolina Wren

Lomita Wren

Texas Wren or Mexican Carolina Wren Video: Mexican Carolina Wren singing

11/27/15 Saw a small bird with upright narrow tail. Only saw the silhouette. He was eating on the ground below the black oil sunflower seed feeder. He was back-lit so I could only tell he was dark and probably all the same color. Probably a house wren.

But, WhatBird says it " Eats insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, true bugs, and caterpillars; also feeds on spiders, millipedes, and snails; forages by gleaning insects from leaves and shrubs." No seeds?

WhatBird small birds

House Wren

House Wren

House Wrens

The other possibility is the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, which is also a carnivore.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

House Wrens

12/5/15 Saw my first cardinal in a long time. She was a female eating black oil sunflower seeds on the patio below the feeder. She looked in good condition.

Northern Cardinals, male and female

Northern Cardinal ID Even the brown females sport a sharp crest and warm red accents. Cardinals '’t migrate and they '’t molt into a dull plumage, so they’re still breathtaking in winter’s snowy backyards. In summer, their sweet whistles are one of the first sounds of the morning.

Northern Cardinals tend to sit low in shrubs and trees or forage on or near the ground, often in pairs. They are common at bird feeders but may be inconspicuous away from them, at least until you learn their loud, metallic chip note.

Nearly any bird feeder you put out ought to attract Northern Cardinals (as long as you live within their range), but they particularly seem to use sunflower seeds. Leave undergrowth in your backyard or around the edges, and you may have cardinals nesting on your property.

Only a few female North American songbirds sing, but the female Northern Cardinal does, and often while sitting on the nest. This may give the male information about when to bring food to the nest. A mated pair shares song phrases, but the female may sing a longer and slightly more complex song than the male.

Many people are perplexed each spring by the sight of a cardinal attacking its reflection in a window, car mirror, or shiny bumper. Both males and females do this, and most often in spring and early summer when they are obsessed with defending their territory against any intruders. Birds may spend hours fighting these intruders without giving up. A few weeks later, as levels of aggressive hormones subside, these attacks should end (though one female kept up this behavior every day or so for six months without stopping).

The male cardinal fiercely defends its breeding territory from other males. When a male sees its reflection in glass surfaces, it frequently will spend hours fighting the imaginary intruder.

The oldest recorded Northern Cardinal was 15 years 9 months old.

Northern Cardinals eat mainly seeds and fruit, supplementing these with insects (and feeding nestlings mostly insects). Common fruits and seeds include dogwood, wild grape, buckwheat, grasses, sedges, mulberry, hackberry, blackberry, sumac, tulip-tree, and corn. Cardinals eat many kinds of birdseed, particularly black oil sunflower seed. They also eat beetles, crickets, katydids, leafhoppers, cicadas, flies, centipedes, spiders, butterflies, and moths.

12/17/15 glimpsed a Carolina Chickadee. It was on the ground snatching seeds under the feeder. I saw the black crown but missed the bib. I also didn't see the white patch below the eye. It was the angle I guess.

Carolina Chickadees

Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis John James Audubon named this bird while he was in South Carolina. The curious, intelligent Carolina Chickadee looks very much like a Black-capped Chickadee, with a black cap, black bib, gray wings and back, and whitish underside.

1/2/16 It drizzled outside all day. I sighted the male cardinal again, along with white winged doves and house sparrows. But I also sighted a bird with the same basic sillhouette as a sparrow but a bit larger and entirely black. Also, I saw a tiny bird with a crest on it's head; totally grey, dark grey on it's back and light grey under.

Juniper Titmouse Formerly lumped with the Oak Titmouse in the species known appropriately as Plain Titmouse, the Juniper Titmouse is found primarily in the Great Basin.

Juniper Titmice

Or, more likely, based on our location, the tufted titmouse, although I didn't see any color other than grey.

Tufted Titmice

Tufted Titmouse A little gray bird with an echoing voice, the Tufted Titmouse is common in eastern deciduous forests and a frequent visitor to feeders. The large black eyes, small, round bill, and brushy crest gives these birds a quiet but eager expression that matches the way they flit through canopies, hang from twig-ends, and drop in to bird feeders. When a titmouse finds a large seed, you’ll see it carry the prize to a perch and crack it with sharp whacks of its stout bill.

Tufted Titmice are acrobatic foragers, if a bit slower and more methodical than chickadees. They often flock with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers and are regular visitors to feeders, where they are assertive over smaller birds. Their flight tends to be fluttery but level rather than undulating.

Tufted Titmice

Arbor Gate blog: Finding Comfort [after surgery]

You know how I love birds so they have been high on my list of healing as well. To avoid the plagues of sunflower gorging goldfinches, I keep my winter feeders stocked with a total of six no melt, meal worm peanut suet cakes. This keeps the pine warblers, Carolina chickadees, tufted titmice, and brown headed nuthatches happy; me too. The cardinals and one pushy mockingbird, among others, have learned to use them as well. I buy the suet cakes a dozen at a time now. My country birds love them but the picky city birds where I work at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center in Nacogdoches won’t touch them.

I’m especially partial to cavity dwelling birds which means woodpeckers are among my very favorite birds. After all, without woodpeckers there would have never been bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, and a host of others that can’t create their own cavities. After lightning struck and killed a big loblolly pine in my tall grass prairie project a number of years ago, a pileated woodpecker promptly excavated a cavity and made it a home. I panicked during a control burn a few years ago when most of this dead tree caught on fire. I just knew Woody Woodpecker’s home was gone. But thankfully only the sapwood burned away and never even reached his penthouse apartment in the sky. When I’m working nearby I hear him coming to roost each day between 4:30 and 5:00. So one day last month I pulled the truck nearby with camera in hand and waited for him to head to bed. At 4:46 pm he lit on his perch, cackled a few notes, and hitched his way into bed. The whole experience was far better than a pain pill. And yes I know he’s a male, because of his red mustache.

3/3/16 Briana saw a Downy Woodpecker at the suet feeder.

3/4/16 I saw a bird at the suet feeder. Size and shape of a woodpecker; bill was either white or pale yellow. Possibilities;

Guadeloupe Woodpecker

Puerto Rican Woodpecker

Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Female Ivory-billed Woodpecker

4/30/16 I saw a bird smaller than a sparrow with a soft red head. Two Possibilities:

House Finch / [or] / Red Headed Finch

House Finch songs

House finch (male) with spring song

House Finch Singing His Heart Out

Red Headed House Finch

Finch Stuff: Calls and Songs

May 2016 my feeder saw bird size of large sparrow but more chunky. Black all over with iridescent blue feathers. Bill was ivory colored.

European Starling Small, chunky, iridescent purple and green blackbird with long, pointed yellow bill, pink legs, and short tail. The feathers on back and undertail show buff edges. Feeds in open areas, normally on the ground. Strong, direct and swift flight on rapidly beating wings.

Photo from

6/1/16 Saw a bird about the size and shape of a white wing dove, but it was black all over, including the beak. It's legs were black and long--"leggy". Turned out to be a Brewer's Blackbird.

Male Brewer's Blackbird

6/2/16 Saw bird like a female cardinal, but no crest. Turned out to be a cardinal pair anyway.

Northern Cardinal Pair / Brewer's Blackbird

6/3/16 saw what I thought was a redheaded woodpecker land on my black oil seed sunflower feeder. Turned out to be one of the following. The top of the head was red; medium sized bird.

Ladderback Woodpecker / Arizona Woodpecker

Turned out to be a Ladder-backed Woodpecker or a Arizona Woodpecker

Could also have been an Acorn Woodpecker.

Acorn Woodpecker /

grey currawong, Chuck-Will's-Widow, Black Phoebe Hermit Thrush or one of thrushes Gray Catbird Olive Sparrow Canyon Towhee Black-chinned Sparrow [Brown-headed Cowbird] Bright orange bill-- Eastern Wood-Pewee Black-chinned Sparrow 110116 With the house sparrows in the top of the jasmine bush, I saw a Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadees

12/8/16 I saw a bird at my feeder the same size and shape as a cardinal but only white and shades of grey. Possibilities:

Bridled Titmouse the range is right and the habitat fits.

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet described as a SMALL flycatcher. Probably too small.

Bridled Titmouse / Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet

Eastern Kingbird Range and habitat is right but the coloring is more distinct than what I saw, I think?

Greater Pewee Not enough white, I think.

EasternKingbird / Greater Pewee

Of course, it could have been a Blue Jay. Here is a picture of one without color

Blue Jay

My best guess, either a Blue Jay, or even more likely, a Bridled Titmouse [if large enough bird].


Top 10 Reasons to Participate in The Big Sit! Oct. 10-11

The Great Texas Birding Classic

Birds Choice

DIY BIRD BATH Learn how to create a beautiful DIY bird bath with this step-by-step pictorial tutorial! All you will need is an oil pan, PVC pipe, pump, and plastic tub filled with water!



Large Galvanized oil pan (Found at automotive stores. The one pictured is 36 x 25 and was purchased at AutoZone.)
210 GPH Submersible water pump
Plastic tub
Small outdoor table
PVC pipe (The size of PVC pipe will be dependent upon the size of the fitting on your pump.)
PVC pipe 90• elbow
PVC pipe cap
Wood shims
Aquarium grass (optional)
Tape measure
Hacksaw (to cut PVC pipe)
Drill and drill bits (This is the one I use and love.)


Place the tray on a table so that the tray overhangs from the table by a few inches. Place the plastic tub of water underneath the tray overhang. Determine where you want the water to drain from the pan back into the tub. Using a 1/2 inch drill bit, drill one or two drainage holes in your pan.


Set the pump in the tub and measure from the fitting on top of the pump to the top of the oil pan. This is the length that you will need to cut your first section of PVC pipe.


Measure the distance from the farthest edge of your pan to your first PVC pipe and cut a second piece of PVC pipe to this measurement. Using a 3/16 bit, drill single-file holes only on ONE SIDE of the pipe. Be careful that you do not drill all the way through the pipe or your water will not spray correctly. You want the water to spray out of the pipe and into the pan as pictured below.




Use a PVC pipe cap at the end of your pipe to secure the waterflow out of the drilled holes.


Using your wood shims, shimmy the end of the pan on the opposite side of the tub to allow the water to easily drain back into the tub. Fill the tub with water, plug in the pump, and enjoy!

Singen in der Einflugschneise 8. September 2016

Vögel stimmen ihr Gesangsverhalten auf Fluglärm ab [Birds adjust their singing activity around airport noise]

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen have determined that birds near Berlin's Tegel airport, one of Europe's largest, start singing significantly earlier in the morning than their counterparts at quieter locations. What’s more, they discovered that chaffinches stop singing when the noise from air traffic exceeds a threshold of 78 decibels (A).

Noise pollution caused by humans has been shown to have a negative impact on health and wellbeing - and criticism is frequently directed at the massive noise levels generated by air traffic in particular. However, noise pollution affects not only humans, also the acoustic communication that is so vital to birdlife can be lost in the din. Since the two most important functions of birdsong are territorial defence and the attraction of a mating partner, disturbances by noise can impair their reproductive success.

Artificial night lighting causes birds to sing earlier March 17, 2015

Light pollution influences the seasonal start of bird vocalisations

A negative impact of artificial night lighting on natural populations is now widely recognised and no longer contested. Artificial light at night attracts nocturnal animals, including migrating birds. This can lead to disorientation and is the cause of death of many birds that crash into the lighted objects.

A more subtle effect of artificial night lighting, but one that could have important ecological and evolutionary consequences, is the fact that it disturbs the natural activity rhythms of many animals. For example, diurnal animals are active longer than they normally would be, and birds in cities have even been observed to forage at night during the winter.

Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie Birds represent ideal objects for study a variety of fundamental biological questions. Thus, for example, the birdsong similarities to human language. Photographer Captures The Multi-Colored Magic Of Hummingbirds

Burrowing Owl / Pileated Woodpecker

Wood Duck [East Texas] /

Milberger Newsletter

Select the seed based on what birds you want to attract. Sunflower seeds are the most popular seeds. They attract cardinals, inca doves, chicadees, titmice, American sparrows, and jays. Goldfinches eat sunflower seeds, but they especially like thistle seed which is not a favorite of other species. Safflower seed is a favorite cardinal food, but is passed up by squirrels.

Feed suet to attract the insect eaters. Woodpeckers, kinglets, chicadees, wrens, and starlings are especially fond of suet blocks, but even some warblers will show up at the suet feeder.

Many birds also like fruit. Apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, and other fruits that are past their prime will attract orioles, tanagers, cardinals, house finches, and woodpeckers.

Cedar Waxwing plays catch

Eagle Owl

Nid D'oiseaux "nest of birds" marvelous videos.

Christmas Hawks, 2016

Scarlet Macaws

Baby Flamingo

San Antonio is home to three different species of jaybirds. If you're observant and patient, maybe you'll get to see one of these feathered jewels this winter. [SAWS]

Palm Warbler


16 dazzling facts about hummingbirds There are a lot of magical creatures on this planet, but it’s really hard to outdo the hummingbird when it comes to enchantment. They are the nectar-fueled, jewel-hued fairies of the bird world – and they have the moxie to match. These teeny wee things display some of the most vivid colors in the animal kingdom and have prodigious talents unique to themselves – like, you know, they hover – all in a Lilliputian package that weighs as little as a paperclip. I’m not sure they could be anymore bewitching – but if you need convincing, start here.

Beija flor de orelha violeta hummingbird ~ Fiery throated hummingbird

1. They’re not called hummingbirds for nothing

While they could have been named purringbirds or whirringbirds, the fact remains that they create quite the buzz, befitting of their onomatopoetic name. A hummingbird beats its wings around 70 times per second in direct flight and over 200 times per second while diving.

2. They are aerial acrobats

Hummingbirds can fly up, down and all around – forwards, backwards and even upside down. They can beat their wings in a figure-eight pattern, which makes them the only vertebrates capable of sustained hovering. They can fly 30 mph, and exceed 45 mph during courtship dives.

3. They put their flying to good use

Hummingbirds are found only in the New World, from southeastern Alaska to southern Chile – and of the 340 species of hummingbirds, many of them migrate at least 500 miles every year. The rufous hummingbird migrates 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) from Mexico to Alaska every year; ruby-throated hummingbirds can fly 18 to 20 straight hours to get across the Gulf of Mexico.

Bee hummingbird ~ Unknown Hummingbird

4. And of course, they are tiny

Much of the enchantment of these spectacular birds is that they pack so much magic into such a small creature. And in fact, the bee hummingbird of Cuba (pictured below), is around two inches long and weighs in at under 2 grams, is the smallest bird in the world. Theoretically, 16 of them could be mailed first class using a single stamp.

5. They are remarkably flamboyant

Those of us east of the Mississippi only get to enjoy the ruby-throated hummingbird, and in all, only 17 species regularly nest in The States – but in the tropics? The place is humming with them. And like other creatures who live in the lush habitats of South America, many of them are vividly candy-colored with all kinds of frippery to add pizzazz – as can be seen in many of the photos here.

6. The men are dandies Purple cheek pompoms, exuberant crests, wildly burdensome-looking tails – along with some of the most beautiful colors known to nature, male hummingbirds come with all kinds of wild add-ons to woo the ladies. The tails of species like the long-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus kingii) and the booted racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii) – who also sports some perfectly poofy pantaloons – are completely improbable. (Both pictured below.) Which is also the point; the males who can survive with such beautifully burdensome tails prove to the females how hearty they are and what splendid mates they would make.

Booted Racket Tail hummingbird male ~ Sylph hummingbird male

7. Their nests could be the work of fairies

Hummingbird nests are the tiny homes of the bird world, usually not exceeding the size of half a walnut shell. They are velvety little cups formed from moss, leaves and plant bits, woven together with spider silk. And into the nests, mama birds deposit one to three tiny eggs the size of small pearls.

Hummingbird nest & eggs ~ Wire-crested hummingbird

8. They have the quickest hearts in town

With heart rates exceeding 1,200 beats per minute, hummingbirds have the fastest beating hearts in the animal kingdom.

9. They are gluttons for nectar

To keep their exuberant metabolism fueled, these little guys and gals need a prodigious amount of food, mostly in the form of nectar. One study noted that a hummingbird of 3 grams can devour 43 grams of sugar water in a day; that’s 14 times its body weight. They also eat tree sap, as well as insects.

10. Bill, please

One of the hummingbird’s hallmarks is its long crazy bill that is specialized to fit into tubular flowers to get the goods. Different species have differently shaped bills in accordance with the flowers they prefer. Some are dramatically curved, others are very long. In the case of the remarkable sword-billed hummingbird, pictured below, so long that they have to hold it upright in order to stay balanced when perching! In fact, it is the only species of bird with a bill longer than its body.

Sword-billed hummingbird ~ Green Violeteer hummingbird

11. Their tongues would demolish a lollipop Hummingbirds have a long, split tongue that they use to vacuum nectar from flowers; it is such a fast-working tongue that it can flick at a rate of up to 13 licks per second.

12. They never forget

Believe it or not, those wee heads hold a lot of brainpower! One study found that the hummingbird’s hippocampus is significantly larger, relative to telencephalic volume, than any bird examined to date. Why? Because of their extraordinary nectar lust, they visit hundreds of flowers each day. “In order to feed efficiently,” notes the researchers, “they must remember what flowers they have visited, the locations of high nectar-rewarding flowers and a host of additional spatial–temporal information. A combination of field and laboratory studies demonstrate that hummingbirds can remember the nectar quality and content of individual flowers , nectar-refilling rates, spatial location and distribution of flowers, avoid revisiting recently sampled flowers and rely on ‘episodic-like’ memory for daily foraging.”

Ruby-throated hummingbird ~ unknown

13. They find walking passé

Have you ever seen a hummingbird walk or even hop? Probably not, since they '’t bother. Their feet are so small and their flying so adept that they have pretty much 'e away with using them for anything other than perching.

14. They have great eyes

While hummingbirds can’t smell very well, they can see a whole array of colors that we can not, thanks to their ability to process ultraviolet light.

15. They have built-in flying goggles

Hummingbirds are one of the lucky animals that come complete with a third set of eyelids. These “nictitating membranes” are like a translucent curtain that can be drawn to protect the eyes during flight. They'd be all set for Burning Man.

16. Their collective name is a “charm”

Just like we have flocks of sheep and packs of dogs and gaggles of geese, we have charms of hummingbirds. Because, of course – few creatures are as charming as a hummingbird, let alone a group of them!

Roseatte Spoonbill

European Starling

Blackpoll Warber

Magee Marsh Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Send comments to, Colby Glass, MLIS, Professor Emeritus