I’m Sharon, and I’m so glad you stopped by!
Nature For My Soul
- I am Sharon Mammoser, author of this blog and lover of all things WILD. Welcome! I hope you enjoy your visit and come back again soon. Happy Trails!
- ► 2017 (57)
- ► July (5)
- ► June (15)
- Photo Challenge #11
- 1 Minute Meditation: River Time
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #153
- Weekly Puzzler #154: Spiral Fern
- Photo Challenge #10
- 1 Minute Meditation: Pond Time
- Weekly Puzzler #153: Tall White Flower Above Waxy Leaves
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #152
- Photo Challenge #9
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #151
- Weekly Puzzler #152: What BIG Eyes You Have!
- Quote of the Week #82
- One Minute Meditation: N.A.'s Largest Rodent: The Beaver
- Weekly Puzzler #151: Really looooonngg "Tail"
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #150
- ► May (19)
- Weekly Photo Challenge #8
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #149
- Weekly Puzzler #150: Sharp Claws and Big Eyes
- One Minute Meditation:Falling Water
- Weekly Photo Challenge #7
- Special Invitation: Blue Ghost & Moth Viewing Party!
- Weekly Puzzler #149: Will Dance for Food
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #148
- Weekly Photo Challenge #6
- How Wolves Change Rivers
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #147
- Weekly Puzzler #148: A Bird That Uses a Lure
- 1 Minute Meditation: Time Lapse
- Weekly Photo Challenge #5
- What Ants and Farmers Have in Common
- Weekly Puzzler #147: Handsome Red-eyed Bird
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #146
- Quote of the Week #81
- Check Out These Nesting Birds. Live!
- ► April (18)
- Weekly Puzzler #146: Another Mimic
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #145
- Weekly Photo Challenge #4
- 1 Minute Meditation: Water Art
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #144
- Weekly Puzzler #145: Name that Bird!
- Happy Earth Day!
- Weekly Photo Challenge #3
- One Minute Meditation: Spring Rains Fill Stream
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #143
- Weekly Puzzler #144: Bubbling Song
- Weekly Photo Challenge Theme #2
- Quote of the Week #80
- He Cleans...Then He Dances! Watch this Amazing Bird.
- Weekly Puzzler #143: Spring Greens
- It's Spring...Have You Done This Yet?
- Weekly Photo Challenge #1
- Hello Again!
- ► 2016 (157)
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- ► November (11)
- Weekly Puzzler #139:Tangerine-Sized Nuts
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #138
- Quote of the Week #79
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #137
- Weekly Puzzler #138: More RED Berries!
- Quote of the Week #78
- Weekly Puzzler #137: Tight Red Cluster of Berries
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #136
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #135
- Weekly Puzzler #136: Red Berries
- Quote of the Week #77: Some Quotes about Leadership and the Power of One
- ► October (15)
- The Creatures of Halloween...10 Things You Might Not Know
- Weekly Puzzler #135: Bats and Rum?
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #134
- Quote of the Week #76
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #133
- Weekly Puzzler #134: Green Fruit & Purple Flower
- Weekly Puzzler #133: The Better Nose
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #132
- Quote of the Week #75
- Weekly Puzzler #132: Perfect Camouflage
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #131
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Sandhill Cranes
- Quote of the Week #74
- Weekly Puzzler #131: Red-crested Bird
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #130
- ► September (11)
- Weekly Puzzler #130: Metallic Jewel
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #129
- 10 Things That May Surprise you about Turkey Vultures
- Quote of the Week #73
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #128
- Weekly Puzzler #129:Another Long-Necked Bird
- 10 Amazing Things about Ospreys
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #127
- Weekly Puzzler #128: Riding the Wind!
- Weekly Puzzler #127: Large Bird with "Elbows"
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #126
- ► August (12)
- Quote of the Week #72
- 10 Things You May Not Know about White Pelicans
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #125
- Weekly Puzzler #126: Another Striking White and Black Bird
- Quote of the Week #71
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Swallow-tailed Kites
- Weekly Puzzler #125: White and Black
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #124
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #123
- Weekly Puzzler #124:Forked Tail
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #122
- Weekly Puzzler #123: Naked Tail!
- ► July (15)
- Weekly Puzzler #122: Large, Flat Tail
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #121
- Weekly Puzzler #121:Skinny Blue Worm?
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #120
- What do you Know about Spiders? Test Your Spider IQ
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #119
- Weekly Puzzler #120: Damselfly Hitchhikers
- On Those Hot Summer Days, Don't Forget...
- Quote of the Week #70
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #118
- Weekly Puzzler #119: Winged Giant
- Do You See What I See?
- Quote of the Week #69
- Weekly Puzzler #118: Mini Tunnels in a Row
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #117
- ► June (13)
- Quote of the Week #68
- Weekly Puzzler #117: Foster Parents...but Not by Choice!
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #116
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Damselflies
- Quote of the Week #67
- Weekly Puzzler #116: Who Says Drink Your Tea
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #115
- Quote of the Week #66
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #114
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- Quote of the Week #65
- ► May (14)
- Weekly Puzzler #113
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #112
- Amazed By My Dog's Ability to do This
- Quote of the Week #64
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #111
- Weekly Puzzler #112
- Quote of the Week #63
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #110
- Weekly Puzzler #111: Nature's Needles
- 10 Things That Might Surprise you about Ring-Necked Pheasants
- A Shout Out to Moms Everywhere!
- Weekly Puzzler #110: Another Mystery "Ball"
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #109
- Quote of the Week #62
- ► April (15)
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #108
- Weekly Puzzler #109: Who Says Churrrr, churrr?
- Quote of the Week #61
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #107
- Weekly Puzzler #108: Colorful Feathers
- Earth Day Inspiration, Plus 5 Ways to Help our Planet
- Quote of the Week #60
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #106
- Weekly Puzzler #107: Shades of Purple
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Prairie Chickens
- Weekly Puzzler #106: Unusual-Shaped Leaf
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #105
- Quote of the Week #59
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #104
- Weekly Puzzler #105: Name That Trillium!
- ► March (17)
- Quote of the Week #58
- Ten Things That May Amaze You About Frogs & Toads
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #103
- Weekly Puzzler #104: Yellow Petals and Spotted Leaves
- If You're NOT Doing This, You May Be the Cause of Hummingbird Deaths: 8 Things You Need to Know
- Quote of the Week #57
- 10 Things You Might Not Know About Salamanders
- Weekly Puzzler #103: Painted Flower Petals
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #102
- Quote of the Week #57: Spring Fever
- Weekly Puzzler #102: A Truck Backing Up?
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #101
- Quote of the Week #56
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #100
- Weekly Puzzler #101: Mysterious "Ball" on the Forest Floor
- 10 Things You Might Not Know about Beech Trees
- Quote of the Week #55
- ► February (13)
- Weekly Puzzler #100
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #99
- Quote of the Week #54
- Weekly Puzzler #99
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #98
- 10 Things You May Not Know About Spotted Salamanders
- Weekly Puzzler #98
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #97
- Quote of the Week #53
- Weekly Puzzler #97
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #96
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Wolves
- Is Spring Coming Soon?
- ► January (13)
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- Weekly Puzzler #89
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #88
- 10 Things You Might Not Know about Wild Turkeys
- Quote of the Week #45
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #87
- Weekly Puzzler #88
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #86
- Weekly Puzzler #87
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Dolphins
- Quote of the Week #44
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #85
- Weekly Puzzler #86
- Quote of the Week #43
- What do Yeast, Mold and Mushrooms have in Common?
- ► October (17)
- Weekly Puzzler #85
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #84
- What do Bananas, Tequila, Figs and Chocolate have in Common?
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #83
- Weekly Puzzler #84
- Quote of the Week #42
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Loons
- Weekly Puzzler #83
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #82
- The Bird that Can Change its Mind
- Quote of the Week #41
- Weekly Puzzler #82
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #81
- Quote of the Week #40
- Have you Noticed?
- Weekly Puzzler #81
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #80
- ► September (16)
- Quote of the Week #39
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #79
- Weekly Puzzler #80
- Quote of the Week #38
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #78
- Weekly Puzzler #79
- Monarch Day at The NC Arboretum!
- Quote of the Week #37
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #77
- Weekly Puzzler #78
- Why You Should Refuse to use This Product!
- Quote of the Week #36
- Weekly Puzzler #77
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #76
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Butterflies
- Quote of the Week #35
- ► August (17)
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #75
- Weekly Puzzler #76
- Nature For Your Soul
- Quote of the Week #34
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #74
- Weekly Puzzler #75
- Quote of the Week #33
- Sure to Make You Smile!
- Weekly Puzzler #74
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #73
- Quote of the Week #32
- Weekly Puzzler #73
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #72
- Hummingbirds Get Crazy!
- Quote of the Week #31
- Weekly Puzzler #72
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #71
- ► July (18)
- Soul Food
- Quote of the Week #30
- Weekly Puzzler #71
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #70
- Quote of the Week #29
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #69
- Weekly Puzzler #70
- 10 Things That May Surprise You about Goldfinches
- Quote of the Week #28
- 10 Facts About Great Blue Herons
- Weekly Puzzler #69
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #68
- Hidden Drama on an Ordinary Morning
- New Meaning for the word Redneck
- Quote of the Week #27
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #67
- Weekly Puzzler #68
- A Thought to Start the New Month
- ► June (18)
- Quote of the Week #26
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #66
- Weekly Puzzler #67
- Quote of the Week #25
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #65
- Weekly Puzzler #66
- 10 Things That Might Surprise you About Ladybugs
- Top 10 Ways to Determine if Someone is a Thru-hiker
- Quote of the Week #24
- Weekly Puzzler #65
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #64
- 10 Things You Didn't Know about Fireflies
- Can There be a Soundless Music?
- Quote of the Week #23
- Weekly Puzzler #64
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #63
- 4 Things We Can Learn from Carolina Wrens
- Quote of the Week #22
- ► May (20)
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #62
- Weekly Puzzler #63
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Rattlesnakes
- Quote of the Week #21
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #61
- Weekly Puzzler #62
- Sure to Make you Smile...
- Quote of the Week #20
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #60
- Weekly Puzzler #61
- Safe Sex? Not for this Insect.
- Quote of the Week #19
- Happy Mother's Day!
- Weekly Puzzler #60
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #59
- Training a Cat to Walk on a Leash?
- 3 MORE Things You Would Stop Doing if you Knew the Consequences
- Weekly Quote #18
- Weekly Puzzler #59
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #58
- ► April (22)
- What is the Relationship Between Sapsuckers and Hummingbirds?
- Quote of the Week #17
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #57
- Weekly Puzzler #58
- Awakened at 3AM By Guess Who?
- Moth Quiz Answers
- Moth Quiz--Is What You Know Fact or Fiction?
- See What Had My Heart RACING Recently
- Ten Things You May Not Know About Honey Bees
- Quote of the Week #16
- Weekly Puzzler #57
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #56
- Quote of the Week #15
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #55
- Weekly Puzzler #56
- 3 Things You WOULD STOP DOING if You Knew the Sometimes DEADLY Consequences
- Guess Who I Saw at the Pond Last Night
- Quote of the Week #14
- Weekly Puzzler #55
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #54
- What's Special About NA's Largest Woodpecker?
- If You Love Hummingbirds, Do This Soon!
- ► March (19)
- Quote of the Week #13
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #53
- Weekly Puzzler # 54
- More About Earthworms--Are They Good or Bad?
- Quote of the Week #12
- Welcome Spring! A One Minute Movie
- Weekly Puzzler #53
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #52
- 5 Sayings You've Probably Heard... but Did You Know They're False?
- 10 Earthworm Facts that may Surprise You
- Quote of the Week #11
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #51
- Weekly Puzzler #52
- 7 Positive Things about Rainy Days
- Quote of the Week #10
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #50
- Weekly Puzzler #51
- Quote of the Week #9
- Ten Things You Didn't Know about Red-shouldered Hawks
- ► February (17)
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #49
- Weekly Puzzler #50
- Quote of the Week #8
- 10 Facts About the N.A. Owl with the Most Varied Diet
- Weekly Puzzler #49
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #48
- The Bird with the Tiny Body but Large Brain
- Quote of the Week #7
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #47
- Weekly Puzzler #48
- If You Love BIRDS, Here is Something You Can Do This Valentine's Weekend
- 10 Things You Didn't know about Opossums
- Quote of the Week #6
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #46
- Weekly Puzzler #47
- Quote of the Week #5
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Today's Famous Animal (The Groundhog)
- ► January (18)
- Weekly Puzzler Answer # 45
- Weekly Puzzler #46
- Quote of the Week #4
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #44
- Weekly Puzzler #45
- How to Get Free Therapy
- Quote of the Week #3
- Weekly Puzzler Answer # 43
- Weekly Puzzler #44
- What to do for a Stunned Bird that has crashed into a Window
- The Mammal with the White Chin
- Quote of the Week #2
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #42
- Weekly Puzzler #43
- How a Plant Can Help you Decide What to Wear
- Quote of the Week #1
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #41
- Weekly Puzzler #42
- ► 2014 (202)
- ► December (15)
- The Playful River Otter
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #40
- Weekly Puzzler #41
- What is luck?
- A Gift for Mother Nature: 7 Small Changes that make a BIG Difference
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #39
- Weekly Puzzler #40
- 5 Things to Remember This Holiday
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #38
- Weekly Puzzler #39
- How to Attract More Birds to Your Yard
- Winter World Quiz
- Winter World Quiz Answers
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #37
- Weekly Puzzler #38
- ► November (17)
- Weekly Puzzler #37
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #36
- What's the FASTEST Growing Tissue of Any Mammal?
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #35
- Weekly Puzzler #36
- Wow! National Geographic Outside of my Window!
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #34
- Weekly Puzzler #35
- Friday Gift
- Glorious Day on the Blue Ridge Parkway
- Nature's Master Engineer: 10 Things You Might Not Know about Beavers
- Weekly Puzzler #34
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #33
- Not Your Average Evening....
- The Halloween Gift
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #32
- Weekly Puzzler #33
- ► October (17)
- Answers to the Halloween Quiz
- Creatures of Halloween QUIZ
- An Amazing Discovery
- A Lesson From a Deer...
- What NA Bird Makes the Biggest Nest?
- Weekly Puzzler #32
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #31
- Do This Today!
- Kayaking on the French Broad
- What Makes This Insect Amazing and Why it's inTrouble
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #30
- Weekly Puzzler #31
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #29
- Weekly Puzzler # 30
- What This Tree Can Teach
- Weekly Puzzler #29
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #28
- ► September (14)
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #27
- Weekly Puzzler #28
- Schedule this regularly
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #26
- Weekly Puzzler # 27
- What is Rejuvenating, Cheap and Awe-Inspiring?
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #25
- Weekly Puzzler #26
- Find this Each Day...
- 10 Things You May Not Know about Copperheads?
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #24
- Weekly Puzzler # 25
- Have the Courage to do this...
- A Wading Bird with a 6 Foot Wingspan
- ► August (20)
- Weekly Puzzler #24
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #23
- Wisdom for your Wednesday: August 27th
- Ten Cool Things about Snakes
- Weekly Puzzler #23
- Weekly Puzzler Answer # 22
- The Big-Eyed Curious Spider with the Bizarre Dance
- What's Hiding in the Grass?
- What Inspires You to Skip?
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #21
- Weekly Puzzler #22
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #20
- Why the Monarch Butterfly is in Trouble
- How You Can Help the Monarch Butterfly
- Weekly Puzzler # 21
- Miniature Worlds Tempt Me...
- A Collection Everyone Should Have
- What Bird has a Barbed Tongue and Loves Ants?
- Weekly Puzzler #20
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #19
- ► July (12)
- ► June (21)
- What Animal on Earth has the Fastest Metabolism? 10 Things You Might Not Know about Hummingbirds
- Ways to Attract Hummingbirds
- Weekly Puzzler #15
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #14
- What is it about Summer?
- Can you Spread the Poison Ivy Rash?
- Do Dragonflies Sting or Bite?
- Weekly Puzzler #14
- Weekly Puzzler Answer # 13
- If you love animals, Please don't do this!
- Unpleasant jobs
- How to Be Rich
- What do Black Bears NOT do all winter?
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #12
- Weekly Puzzler #13
- The Future
- What Salamander Turns Bright Orange as a Teenager?
- Weekly Puzzler #12
- Weekly Puzzler Answer # 11
- Being Different
- Eastern Bluebird
- ► May (24)
- Weekly Puzzler #11
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #10
- Alone Time
- What to do if you encounter a turtle crossing the road
- Spiders in Focus
- What Amazing Ability do Female Box Turtles Have? 10 Things You May Not Know
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #9
- Weekly Puzzler #10
- Which Female Butterfly has Two Forms?
- Spy Camera Captures Hatching Eggs!
- Weekly Puzzler #9
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #8
- Look What I Found along the Blue Ridge Parkway!
- Afraid of Snakes? Read this...
- Which Snake Resembles a King Cobra?
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #7
- Is a Daddy Long Legs a Spider?
- Weekly Puzzler #8
- Magic Comes to a Backyard Near You
- What is a Fairy Shrimp?
- Weekly Puzzler #7
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #6
- Ah ha! So that's Why My Female Bluebird is not Incubating...
- Will Mama Bird Abandon the Nest if you Touch it?
- ► April (23)
- Finding Beauty in my own Backyard
- Does Touching a Toad Give you Warts?
- Why are Ants on Peony Buds?
- Spy Camera Shows All!
- Weekly Puzzler #6
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #5
- Do Male Praying Mantises get Eaten after Mating?
- Why I Love Rainy Days
- Weekly Puzzler #5
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #4
- Extra Clean Raccoons?
- Outside on April 14th
- Do Raccoons Really Wash Their Food?
- Woo Hoo, Guess Who's Back!
- Stop doing this
- Weekly Puzzler #4
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #3
- Weekly Puzzler #3
- Weekly Puzzler #2 Answer
- Outside on April 3rd
- 10 Things you may not know about Dandelions
- ► March (20)
- Can You Find the Frog?
- Joyful Herald of Spring
- 10 Things You Didn't Know about Spring Peepers
- Weekly Puzzler Answer #1
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- What is Beauty?
- What I Learned about Barred Owls
- Weekly Puzzler #1: What are these?
- Get your feeders ready!
- Guess What I Found At the Pond Today...
- Who Cooks For You?
- Photos from Corkscrew Sanctuary
- Corkscrew Sanctuary
- We all have them...
- Dad was right...
- Note to self:
- Just like Janet Jackson...
- Life Partner
- ► February (16)
- Spider Myths Debunked! 10 Things You May Not Know about Spiders
- How I know that Spring is Here!
- What DOES the Fox Say?
- What's that Quacking Sound?
- Are you Stuck in a Rut?
- Words of Wisdom for Future AT Thru-Hikers
- Introducing the RED FOX
- Are Bats Blind?: 10 Things That Might Surprise You
- Introducing the BOBCAT
- 5 Ways to Help Bats
- Two Ways to Attract Moths to Your Yard
- Comparing the JMT to the AT
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Tag Cloudadaptations advice amphibians animals animal sounds answer aquatic animals awe bats beauty birds butterflies creature feature frogs hummingbirds insects inspiration invertebrates lepidoptera mammals migration mystery myths nature night nocturnal photo challenge plants pond puzzler quote Quote of the week quotes reptiles spiders spring spring ephemerals ten things trees weekly puzzler wildflowers winter wisdom wisdom for your wednesday wonder
Monthly Archives: June 2014
In my opinion, hummingbirds are one of the most amazing birds on earth. One of my favorite things about summer is getting to watch them at my feeders, buzzing around like miniature helicopters. To learn more about how you attract hummingbirds to your yard, Click HERE.
What do you know about this tiny bird? Here are a few facts:
1. Ruby-throated hummingbirds beat their wings 60-80 times per second. Their wings move in a figure eight-shape when beating. When they are in a courtship dive, this increases to 200 times per SECOND! Have you ever seen them do this! It’s incredible! The female rests on a branch while the male flies at top speed in a giant arch, a pendulum, with the bottom being right beside the watching female. How could she not be impressed! I still remember the first time I ever witnessed this, standing rapt at the bay window of the house I lived in New York State, watching in awe as the male whipped up and down, up and down, like he was on an invisible string, sailing past the quiet female in spectacular fashion.
2. Hummingbirds fly up to 40 mph in a straight line and as much as 65 mph in their courtship dive! They can fly in place, forwards, sideways, even upside-down.
When they chase each other around by my feeders, they often dart in and out the small wooden slats on the deck, zooming through the narrow spaces at crazy speeds. I cannot imagine how this is possible, always wanting to close my eyes when I see them doing this, thinking at any second they will run smack dab into the wood, sudden death a guarantee. Yet I have never seen one run into anything but each other, and this is surely intentional.
4. Hummingbirds have the fastest metabolism of any animal on earth. Their metabolism is 100 times faster than that of an elephant!
5 Hummingbirds are also the tiniest birds in the world. Their brain consists of 4.2% of their body weight; the largest in the animal kingdom! They can hear better than humans, see better than us, even see ultraviolet light. Their heart beats at a rate of 615 beats per minute!
6. The colors you see in a hummingbird’s feathers are not from pigments, but rather the STRUCTURE of the feathers! The colors vary according to how much light hits them and at what angle it comes from. This explains why sometimes the male’s gorget looks black and then when he suddenly turns his head, it can look bright red. Amazing!!
7. Ruby-throated hummingbirds, like other hummingbirds have a diet of flower nectar and insects and other small invertebrates that are important sources of protein for the tiny birds. They catch the insects in mid-air, find them on leaves or in spider webs.
8. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only species of hummingbirds that lives and nests east of the Rockies. Thus, when you see one on the east coast, you can be pretty sure it’s a ruby-throated hummingbird! Both males and females have a metallic green back and white underside. Females are 15-25% larger, lack a red throat patch (called a gorget) and have three white-tipped tail feathers on each side of their forked tail. Immature hummingbirds lack the red gorget until after their first winter, though they may have streaking on the neck or one or two red feathers.
9. Hummingbird nests are 1-20 feet from the ground in the crotch of a tree. They make a cup about the size of a walnut using spider silk, plant down, ferns with moss and lichens on the outside. Their two white eggs are the size of peas! Females incubate for two weeks and have one or two broods each summer. The young birds stay in the nest for 20-22 days. When they leave the nest they are full grown. Males do not take part in building the nest or in raising the young.
10. The average hummingbird consumes 1/2 of it’s body weight in nectar each day! They have long narrow beaks that are hollow in the middle to allow for their long tongue–which is grooved on the sides– to slip in and out easily.
They get their nectar from flowers, and in areas where people live, from hummingbird feeders. If you want to attract hummingbirds, you can put out a hummingbird feeder. Click HERE for more information about attracting hummingbirds to your yard.
And possible the MOST AMAZING THING about hummingbirds is their annual migration across the Gulf of Mexico, non-stop! click HERE to read more about this!
Attracting hummingbirds to your yard is easy and fairly inexpensive. You can do it by putting up special feeders, most of which can be bought for less than $20. You can also attract these fascinating birds by planting some flowers that these little birds love.
You can buy special hummingbird feeders from most stores that sell bird feeders. If you want, here are two that I recommend–the first one is a suction cup feeder with a built in ant moat and the second is a tube feeder* that has NO YELLOW and, like the suction-cup feeder, comes apart for super easy cleaning. These come with a tube that can be filled with homemade nectar. Though these same stores will sell Perky-pet nectar PLEASE DON’T BUY THIS! Many experts think the red dye/food coloring is causing harm to these tiny birds. The red dye is NOT NECESSARY for attracting hummingbirds. Please don’t support this product.
You can make your own nectar with regular white sugar. Simply mix up water to sugar with a 4 to 1 ratio. That is, 4 parts of water to one part sugar. Heating the water is not necessary. Put the water and sugar in a closed container and shake until the sugar dissolves. Then store in the fridge until it is needed.
If you are going to feed the hummingbirds, you MUST regularly clean your feeder, otherwise the mold that grows may also harm the birds. This is not hard, just bring your feeders in every couple of days and rinse them out. If mold starts to grow, rub with a wet rag or paper towel. Use a q-tip or special cleaning brush to get inside the holes. When the weather is hot, the sugar water, if left in the hot sun for days on end, may ferment and the birds will stop coming. To avoid this, simply refill your feeders every couple of days.
The best feeders are the ones that come apart completely. This makes cleaning easy. Some feeder on the market do not come apart, which makes cleaning them next to impossible. Avoid these. Also avoid feeders with yellow around the holes as this only serves to attract bees and is not necessary. The birds will be attracted to the color red, which all feeders have. This is enough!
If you get ants at the feeders, you can buy an ant guard. Here’s the one that I like. This is a plastic cup that attaches to the top of the feeder and hangs between the feeder and the hook. It is basically an ant moat, filled with water that prevents the insects from reaching the feeder. This costs about $5.
If you have a yard and want to plant some hummingbird flowers, go for anything red! Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, as well as orange and purple.
According to the West Virginia University Extension, here are: some plants you can put in your yard to attract hummers:
Flowers to plant: bee balm, begonia, bleeding heart, butterfly-weed, canna, cardinal flower, century plant, columbine, dahlia, delphinium, fire pink, foxglove, fuchsia, geranium, gladiolus, hollyhock, impatiens, lantana, lily, nasturtium, petunia, phlox, sage, snapdragon, spider flower, sweet william, verbena, zinnia. These flowers can provide a nectar supply from May to frost.
Vines, trees, and shrubs that attract hummers include honeysuckle, morning glory, trumpet creeper, albelia, butterfly bush, flowering quince, rose of sharon, weigela, flowering currant, rosemary, buckeye and horsechestnut, black locust, flowering crabs, hawthorns, mimosa, and tulip poplar.
*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase a product using one of the links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I will only endorse products I own or would own. All of the opinions on these products are mine.
On a walk in the woods last week I found this… do you know what it is? Click HERE to learn the answer!
Summer is in full swing and that means lots of hummingbirds at the feeders, which is awesome for those of us who love watching them. Such joy they bring to my life! I hope you feel the same!
Did you notice anything odd about this hummingbird? Look closely at its neck and you will notice ONE tiny red feather! As well as a lot of black streaking on the neck. This is an immature male ruby-throated hummingbird who hasn’t gotten his red gorget yet. (a gorget is just a patch of color on the neck, in this case bright red) Immature males will not get their lovely red throat patch until their first winter. So during the summer and into fall it is often challenging to determine the sex of the visiting hummingbirds. Immature males like this one often have a noticeable “five o’clock shadow” or streaking on their necks and may have one to a few red feathers.
It is not possible to see a “baby” hummingbird at your feeder, though many people think this is what they are seeing when the birds seem so small! But hummingbirds ARE small, at about 3 inches from the tail to their beak. When birds leave the nest, be it a hummingbird or an eagle, they are already full grown. So when one visits your feeder, it cannot be a baby.
As adults, the sexes are dimorphic, meaning they are recognizably different. Males have no white on their tails and have a notable red gorget that shines in the sun but may appear black in the shade or when viewed from the side. Females are typically 15-25% larger than the males. Females lack a gorget and have white tips on their outer 3 tail feathers.
If you enjoy watching them and put out feeders, don’t forget to wash the feeder regularly to prevent mold build-up.
Also, PLEASE don’t use red food coloring as this may be harming the birds! and is totally unnecessary. Instead just mix up 4 parts of water to one part regular white sugar.
Do you know how fast hummingbirds beat their wings each SECOND? Or what they can do that no other bird can do? Do you know what they use to make their nests? Or how far they travel each winter? Or where they go and how they get there? Do they ride on the back of other birds? To learn the answers to these and more questions, click HERE for this week’s Creature Feature on the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird–one of nature’s most fascinating animals! Also to learn more about attracting hummingbirds to your yard, CLICK HERE.
Resources: Operation Ruby Throat
I recently had some family in town visiting for a week and spent many hours down by the pond in our front yard. In several places there is some poison ivy and though I know what it looks like and do my best to avoid walking in it, I still got the itchy rash associated with it. My mom, and likely MANY others like her, believe strongly–and cannot be convinced otherwise!– that if you get a poison ivy rash in one place on your body that you can spread it to another place, or even another person, by touching the rash when it is wet or oozing.
If you have a poison ivy rash on your arm, can you spread it to your leg? Does breaking the blisters and then touching another part on your body spread the rash?? Can someone who touches you or the rash then get poison ivy themselves?
The answer to all of the above is NO.
If you have a poison ivy rash on your arm, you CANNOT spread it to your leg!
Breaking the blisters and then touching another part on your body WILL NOT spread the rash!
Someone who touches you or the rash CAN NOT then get poison ivy themselves!
The only way to get the itchy rash is to have contact with the oil–called urushiol (pronounced ooh-too-she-all.) This oil is very potent and can remain so for YEARS! This is likely why it seems like the rash is spreading–because the oil was never washed off the source in the first place and continues to cause the itchy rash.
There are MANY, MANY people who will not believe this no matter how many times I say it!
The only way to get the rash associated with poison ivy, is through contact with the urushiol oil.
You do not have to touch the plant to get the rash–you can touch something that has contact with the plant–be it an article of clothing, a dog’s fur, a shoe, a gardening tool, even someone’s hand if the oil is still on it.
Again, the only way to get the rash associated with poison ivy is through contact with the urushiol oil….
But many will argue with me, saying things like “But I wasn’t even in the woods and I got it! My husband has a rash with weeping blisters–I must have gotten it from the sheets in our bed!” Or ” But I had it on my hand and then the next day got a rash on my leg.”
Let me give an example of how this happens: Let’s say you took a hike and unknowingly walked through poison ivy. Now the oil is on the bottom of your pants and maybe your socks and even on your sneakers or hiking boots. So you get home and take these off. A day or so later you get the first rash. Boy is it itchy! The next day you put on your sneakers, touching the laces as you do. The next day, you have MORE poison ivy! Then, a week later you decide to wear those pants again, and putting them on, rub against some of the oil that is on them. A day later, you get a new rash, just as itchy! The next day you do laundry. As you are putting things into the washer, you touch the socks you had on that hike, the same ones with the oil on them and guess what? The next day you get a new rash–this time on your hand! See why it is so easy to think that the rash is spreading from one place to another?
The oil from the poison ivy and poison oak plant is very potent. It can last YEARS!
You can even have the oil under your fingernails and then further spread it from one place to another.
But it’s THE OIL that causes the poison ivy rash, not breaking of the blisters and touching somewhere else!
A wife or mother who gets the poison ivy rash and has never even been outside may be getting it from doing laundry from a person who have had contact with the plant and the oil. The oil can remain potent for a long time!
Also, a person who seems to be immune to the rash can suddenly lose this immunity and get the rash. Being immune today doesn’t mean you will always be immune. There was a period of time when I could walk in poison ivy all I wanted and NOT get it! But then one day that changed! My mother is so allergic she can look at it and get it! (just kidding, but she is REALLY allergic.)
So learn to recognize poison ivy:
1. Poison ivy has three leaves.But so do lots of other plants including strawberries, raspberries, hog peanut, trillium, jack in the pulpit and more.
When it first comes up it tends to have reddish leaves and a reddish stem.
The leaves are shiny.
The bottom two meet in the middle and the top one is separated a bit.
The leaves are toothed, not smooth. In the fall, the leaves turn yellow.
1. Learn to recognize poison ivy and try to avoid touching it! Also, you can get the rash from burning it–this is horrible! Don’t burn poison ivy! This includes the hairy vine that might be on a piece of wood. As my mom can tell you, people have to go to the emergency room when this happens and it’s not pretty. You can also get it from weedwacking it as the oils will be flung in every direction when the machine hits the plant.
2.If you know you’ve been in it, try to wash the exposed part of the body within ten minutes. Wash well! Use soap and scrub. This may or may not work, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
3. If you still get the rash, try a product called Ivarest. This is the only thing I have ever had success with, and I’ve been getting poison ivy for more than 30 years! As a photographer, I can’t always avoid it and just accept that I will get it and deal with it.
4. If you do get it, try to think back and remember what you were wearing. Then wash those clothes! Some people would advise throwing them out, though I think this is a little extreme. Remember, the oil lasts a long time! If you keep getting more poison ivy rashes, it must be on something you keep touching. If you have a dog or cat that goes outside, you can get the rash from touching your pet! Maybe it’s time to give Rex a really, really, really good bath!
5. Some cases are so severe, they require a doctor’s visit. (Maybe think about quitting those naps you insist on taking in the woods!)
If you don’t believe me, here are some other sources that will support these facts. ALL of them say the same thing!!
This week’s Creature Feature is the group of animals we call DRAGONFLIES. In the world there are more than 6500 species of dragonflies with a little over 400 in North America. Dragonflies are found almost anywhere that there is freshwater, on every continent except Antarctica.
Check out the slideshow at the end of the post!
As a photographer, I love to look for and take pictures of dragonflies. It is can be difficult to get close enough to get a full-frame shot but I enjoy the challenge and have discovered that sometimes, if I follow them around enough, their tolerance of me will grow, allowing me to get close enough for a good shot. Also I enjoy looking for them on dewy mornings in August when their wings are covered with hundreds of tiny droplets of water and they are essentially “frozen” until the sun comes out and warms them. Finding them in this state is always a thrill because I know I can get as close as I need and they aren’t going anywhere.
Here are some interesting things about dragonflies:
1. Dragonflies are insects (insects have three body parts, a hard exoskeleton, three pairs of legs, a pair of antennae) that have been around since BEFORE the dinosaurs, some 300 million years! Fossils of dragonflies have been discovered that have a wingspan of 28.5 inches! This is amazing! The largest dragonfly we find today has a wingspan of 6 inches. A note about dragonfly antenna–they are super short! And not very noticeable. That’s because dragonflies have FABULOUS vision! They don’t need the long antenna typical of creatures that are either active at night or with poorer eyesight.
2. Contrary to popular belief, dragonflies do not sting and will not bite unless handled roughly. It is not unusual for one to land on someone in a canoe or kayak, perching a moment like a winged jewel. When this happens to me I always think of it as good luck, feeling happy that they trusted me enough to stop momentarily. They do not have a stinger like bees and wasps. Many cultures use the dragonfly as a symbol of adaptability in life and as new light and joy.
3. Dragonflies are fierce predators their entire life. After hatching from eggs laid in bodies of freshwater, young dragonflies, called nymphs or naiads, eat other aquatic invertebrates. As nymphs, they have an extendable lower lip called a labium that they use to catch prey, using it like a spear that shoots out at rocket speed to grab an unsuspecting insect or tadpole. Larger nymphs can even feed on small fish! As adults with wings, dragonflies eat a variety of insects from bees to butterflies to mosquitoes and flies. Many snag prey in mid-air, then land to feast on their prize.
4. Dragonflies, like butterflies, can be many different colors, including all the usual ones, like red, blue, green, gold, purple, brown, white and black. Their 4 net-like wings cannot be folded like most insects’ wings and are not fused together so can operate independently. This makes them excellent fliers, capable of going forward, backwards, and hovering in place. Some of the larger species can reach speeds of more than 20 miles per hour! See slideshow below!
5. Dragonflies regulate their body temperature by changing the position of their body with regards to the sun. When it is hot outside and they want to cool off, they will rest with the tip of their abdomen towards the sun. When it is cool and they need to warm up, they will hold their wings flat in the sun, like giant solar panels.
6. Dragonflies start their lives in a body of freshwater, as eggs, that hatch into nymphs. The nymphs have gills and live in the water for a period of time depending on the species. They will go through a series of molts, up to 17, before their transformation to adults. In the United States, most dragonflies take about 11 months to reach adulthood. In the tropics, some species of dragonflies may live underwater as nymphs for 5-7 years.
7. When a dragonfly first transforms from a nymph into an adult, they are pale yellow or greenish and are called teneral adults. In this stage they will spend time away from the pond or stream which could be a few days to a few weeks depending on the species. When a nymph is transforming into an adult they are super vulnerable. If the weather turns bad, if they fall to the ground, if another nymph crawls over them or something touches them as they are emerging from their nymphal skin, they can be deformed or die. As nymphs waiting for their wings to dry they are defenseless against birds or other predators that discover them helpless.
8. Most people think the Monarch Butterfly has the longest migration of any insect but a biologist named Charles Anderson has proved them wrong. A dragonfly named the Globe Skimmer migrates 11,000 miles round trip, traveling from India to the Maldives and then on to Africa and back again in a single year. This is the longest migration of any insect! To avoid strong winds that might push them off course, they reach heights of 3,000 feet. To read more about this amazing discovery, CLICK HERE.
9. Nymphs have a variety of ways for avoiding being eaten by predators. Besides their excellent camouflage, some species will play dead, allowing their limp bodies to float downstream. Others shoot water out of their butts, propelling themselves forward and away from predators like salamanders. As a last resort, they might shed a leg in an attempt to escape. They will grow this back at their next molt.
10. When dragonflies mate, they form what is known as a wheel and some species even fly around in this position. The female curls her abdomen around to access the sperm from the male. Some males are super protective, flying with the female as she dips her abdomen in the water to lay her eggs–which are microscopic and about the size of the period at the end of this sentence!– to make sure she doesn’t mate with another male. Males of some species take this a step farther and actually will remove his competitors’ sperm from the females!
Last but not least, there is a related insect called a damselfly. You have likely seen these flying around the pond along with dragonflies. Damselflies are usually smaller and dainter looking and they usually hold their wings over their bodies instead of open on the sides. I will save other facts about damselflies for another day.
A note about the slideshow pictures: I am not an entomologist. When identifying insects based on a photo in a book or on a website, I do my best to id them but sometimes am not 100% sure.
Dragonflies through Binoculars by Sidney W. Dunkle published by Oxford University Press in 2000
Wild Guide to Dragonflies by Cynthia Berger published by Stackpole Books in 2004