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Old 02-24-2024, 12:35 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
16,070 posts, read 10,729,796 times
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The state bird of New Mexico is the Roadrunner. I have been seeing them more frequently and in more public places although they are frequently in my yard. Last week one was patrolling an outdoor seating area at a local brewpub. He was well fed and apparently knew how to get food. A while back there was one in the desert/Mediterranean conservatory (a large greenhouse) at the ABQ botanical garden. He walked in the door and seemed happy to stay. They are about as close to a mini-raptor dinosaur as a bird can get. They will hunt in pairs and cooperate on herding their prey into a trap.
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Old 02-24-2024, 04:18 PM
 
Location: on the wind
23,259 posts, read 18,777,131 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
The state bird of New Mexico is the Roadrunner. I have been seeing them more frequently and in more public places although they are frequently in my yard. Last week one was patrolling an outdoor seating area at a local brewpub. He was well fed and apparently knew how to get food. A while back there was one in the desert/Mediterranean conservatory (a large greenhouse) at the ABQ botanical garden. He walked in the door and seemed happy to stay. They are about as close to a mini-raptor dinosaur as a bird can get. They will hunt in pairs and cooperate on herding their prey into a trap.
Envy you your roadrunners! Very cool birds! I used to see them along the road occasionally while visiting my parents down in S Orange County CA. Not anymore. The only roadrunners you'd see there these days wear fancy shoes and T shirts proclaiming themselves as such.
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Old 02-24-2024, 07:09 PM
 
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We live a few miles from Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area where thousands of birds stop over during their migration. Our community is directly under their flight path.

On my walk this morning at least a dozen different groups of geese were flying over, organizing themselves into larger groups in their classic ^ pattern. I enjoy watching the stragglers rushing to catch up and give a silent cheer when they make it.

These were Canadian geese who honk loudly as they fly over. The snow geese are quiet.
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Old 02-24-2024, 07:49 PM
 
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Saw my first groundhog of 2024 today. I knew the female who lives under my shed was probably stirring in the last couple days, because the feral cats were walking around the shed and stopping and staring at intervals. I think it was the female I saw, but it could have been a male looking for love.
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Old 02-25-2024, 06:55 PM
 
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Racoons started raiding my bird feeders again. I will put them up at night.

There were three deer in my back yard eating the new weeds popping up. A lot of wild bushes are budding out.
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Old 02-26-2024, 04:23 PM
 
Location: East Bay, CA
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I was in my yard, trimming one of the salvias. A hummingbird was at the feeder on my porch. I heard this sudden loud whistling sound that I hadn't heard in a while. It repeated a few times. I looked over by the feeder, but there was no one except for the hummingbird. Finally, I heard the sound again and saw a blur of a hummingbird whiz by, about 15 feet away.

There was a female at the feeder and the male hummingbird was doing his courtship flight, where they fly up about 50 feet in the air, then plummet towards the ground. When they spread their tails to slow down near the ground, it makes the sharp whistling sound.

I used to think peregrine falcons were the fastest birds on earth. But no, it's the Anna's hummingbird, which we have year round in Northern California.

"The courtship dive of the Anna’s Hummingbird is the most spectacular of all. This bird falls comparably faster than a jet fighter at full throttle or even the Space Shuttle entering the atmosphere!

It has been discovered that the Anna's hummingbird orient their display dive in relation to the sun. This makes them look like an object dropping from the sky at the great speed of 385 body lengths per second.The Anna's mating dive makes them the world's fastest bird. Then they pull up against nine times the force of gravity and survive!"
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Old 02-27-2024, 12:00 PM
 
Location: on the wind
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Originally Posted by Snackmaster View Post
It has been discovered that the Anna's hummingbird orient their display dive in relation to the sun. This makes them look like an object dropping from the sky at the great speed of 385 body lengths per second.The Anna's mating dive makes them the world's fastest bird. Then they pull up against nine times the force of gravity and survive!"
It's also possible they orient themselves that way to take the most advantage of their iridescent plumage. Iridescence is a "structural" color, not actual pigment in the feathers. When sunlight hits it at the right angle, the beautiful colors appear. If the light hits it at the wrong angle, the coloration won't be apparent. The bird will just appear dull dark grey/black. A dull colored bird won't appear to be a vigorous, healthy choice for the female. Birds that learned to orient themselves a certain way were more successful attracting mates, so the ritualistic behavior became a hereditary advantage.
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Old 02-27-2024, 04:45 PM
 
Location: East Bay, CA
487 posts, read 323,572 times
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Originally Posted by Parnassia View Post
It's also possible they orient themselves that way to take the most advantage of their iridescent plumage. Iridescence is a "structural" color, not actual pigment in the feathers. When sunlight hits it at the right angle, the beautiful colors appear. If the light hits it at the wrong angle, the coloration won't be apparent. The bird will just appear dull dark grey/black. A dull colored bird won't appear to be a vigorous, healthy choice for the female. Birds that learned to orient themselves a certain way were more successful attracting mates, so the ritualistic behavior became a hereditary advantage.
I suspect they are moving so fast during the dive that the gorget would not be visible. But the males also do a "shuttle display" in front of the female where they can show off their gorget.

I read this description of the courtship:

"The male Anna’s Hummingbird flew down and performed a “shuttle display” about a foot away from the female and directly in front of her. On sunny days like today, the male’s dive display is oriented so that the sun is reflected from his crown and gorget. Impressive isn’t it?"

I also noticed that the males typically chase the other males away from my feeder. But, he will sometimes let a female feed there. After she is done, he takes off after her - to claim his "prize?"
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Old 02-28-2024, 03:28 PM
 
Location: on the wind
23,259 posts, read 18,777,131 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snackmaster View Post
I suspect they are moving so fast during the dive that the gorget would not be visible. But the males also do a "shuttle display" in front of the female where they can show off their gorget.
I'm sure males don't rely solely on their display dive to lure a mate! It's just part of the show. Bet they do quite a bit of posturing and posing up close to their lady love so their plumage can be shown off to its best advantage.
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Old 02-28-2024, 03:44 PM
 
Location: In The South
6,997 posts, read 4,811,992 times
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Saw a huge flock of somethings in a yard behind the house across the street from me. Couldn’t make out much detail, they were backlit.
So I got my binocs out to look at them when they finished their synchronized flying display and landed in the mostly bare tree they were flying around. Sure enough, their sillhouettes told me they were Cedar Waxwings. Always loved them, never saw them until I moved south.
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