Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monarch Migration Update

The monarch butterflies are arriving in Mexico!

Read the following report, courtesy of Journey South:

Rocio Treviño reports from Saltillo, Coahulia, Mexico:
All week the monarchs have astonished us during their passage over Saltillo, Coahuila. People say they have not seen the monarchs so numerous in years. The monarchs have formed clusters throughout the city of Saltillo. By about 9:00 every morning, as soon as the sun warms the air to 15°-17° C (59° -62° F), the monarchs begin to fly from the trees where they clustered in parks, near houses, schools, and streams across the city. Hundreds and hundreds of monarch butterflies, spiraling upward in thermals, sometimes so numerous they are difficult to count. I am sending the photos that my 10 year-old granddaughter took in a park to the north of town. Today I continued to see dozens of butterflies rising in the thermals. The butterflies must already be in the state of San Luis Potosí in great numbers, but I have still not received reports. And where is the migration near the coast to the east? My son, Rogelio, was near Victoria, Tamaulipas, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and told me he did not see any butterflies...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fun Fast Facts on North American birds

Did you know there are about 9,600 bird species in the world, and that more than 2,000 have been recorded in North America? Each one is fascinating. These facts are courtesy of the book The Bird Almanac: A Guide to Essential Facts and Figures of the World's Birds, by David M. Bird, as reported online by Birder's World magazine.

Fastest-moving bird: Peregrine Falcon diving at 200 mph (320 km/h)

Slowest-flying bird: American Woodcock at 5 mph (8 km/h)

Longest-submerged bird: Emperor Penguin at 18 minutes

Greatest weight-carrying capacity: Pallas's Fish Eagle lifting a 13-lb (5.9-kg) carp -- 160% of body weight

Slowest wingbeat: vultures at 1/sec
Coldest temperature endured: -80.5 degrees F (-62.5 degress C) by Snowy Owls

Keenest sense of hearing: Barn Owl

Smallest bird: Bee Hummingbird at 2.24 in (5.7 cm), 0.056 oz (1.6 g)

Largest egg: Ostrich measuring 7 by 4.5 in (17.8 by 14 cm)

Smallest clutch size: 1 egg laid every 2 years by albatrosses
Greatest wingspan: Wandering Albatross at up to 11 ft 11 in (3.63 m)

Longest tail feathers: Crested Argus Pheasant at 5.7 ft (173 cm)

Greatest number feathers: Tundra Swan at 25,216

Lowest number feathers: Ruby-throated Hummingbird at 940

Images courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service