Hummingbird captured at Davis Mountain
Fort Davis, TX. April 11, 2016: The seasonal return of hummingbirds is one of the most eye-catching rites of spring. Upon arrival to west Texas and points north they signal their presence with chattering calls and buzzing wings while searching for nectar-laced blooms and tiny insects, their primary food.
On a mission to breeding grounds and habitat in North America, scores of birds including hummingbirds mate and raise their young before returning to the tropics. Classified as neo-tropical migratory birds, they are driven by changes in daylight and cues from the stars. Traveling as far north as Canada, they complete a cycle of survival that started several thousand years ago during the last ice age.
Like humans, hummingbirds and all bird life need food, water, cover to survive and they are intriguing to watch. Their incessant buzzing, chipping and fighting can entertain for hours. Like tiny warriors they chase and fight other birds in the garden for food or at a feeder where prepared nectar is found (one part sugar dissolved in four parts water). The popularity of feeding hummingbirds has been happening for nearly a hundred years and keeps getting better as we learn more.
Black-chinned Hummingbirds, the most common hummingbird in western Texas is the first to arrive in the region. The male black-chinned, like its name, has a visibly black throat (or gorget) flashing a sparkling purple band when touched by sunlight. Other species with names suggesting a noticeable field mark are Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Ruby-throated, Blue-throated and the list goes on. In the mountains of west Texas many species have been documented and are known to occur during migratory periods stretching through all four seasons of the year.
Fort Davis biologist Kelly Bryan has banded fifteen (15) species in the Trans-Pecos region, confirming a bird resource found no other place except Southeast Arizona where bird watchers currently travel to find hummingbirds. “We have documented 17 species in west Texas and came close to getting number eighteen (18)” says Bryan. “The Cinnamon Hummingbird in Santa Teresa NM in 1993 was within a mile of the Texas border”.
If you want to meet Bryan and others to learn more about these birds, make plans for the 2016 Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration to be held August 18-20th in Fort Davis, Texas. Sponsored by the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce, the educational programs feature banding, expert presenters, a banquet and field trips to see hummingbirds and other desert birds. Sign up and mark your calendars. Contact the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce at [email protected] or 432-426-3015.
August 18-20, 2016 Fort Davis Texas 79734