Did you know? (migration edition)

That Anna’s hummingbirds don’t migrate?

I found this information on page 12 of the book Hummingbirds: A Celebration of Nature’s Most Dazzling Creatures by Ben Sonder, where he writes about them being permanent residents of the Pacific Coast and southern Arizona. The Costa’s hummingbird of southern California and Arizona stay year round in their habitats as well. This book has a couple of great pictures of baby hummingbirds in the nest as well. I didn’t realize that they have such little beaks when they hatch, and are almost full size at about 3 weeks!

So, since they are here year round, you are going to want to leave your hummingbird feeders out during the winter time. I have two sets that I can swap out as they freeze. The best recipe for homemade syrup is 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water. You don’t want to add more sugar than that as it makes them thirsty, and could possibly lead to liver damage. How to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies by John V. Dennis tells all about designing and maintaining a butterfly/hummingbird garden, with an extensive list of beneficial plants to use, as well as a gallery of hummingbirds and butterflies for easy recognition.

Many birds travel thousands of miles during their migrations. Boy, would my wings be tired! They tend to remember and stop at the same places year after year to feed and rest. Some birds travel hundreds of miles over water during their migrations, which they must do non-stop as there is nowhere for them to rest along the way. Atlas of Bird Migration edited by Jonathan Elphick and Animal Migration: Remarkable Journeys in the Wild by Ben Hoare show the migration routes and distances of many species of birds and other animals.

Many mammals migrate too, but none so far as the gray whale. They travel 6,000 miles from the Arctic sea, before they become ice filled, to the warmer waters of California and Mexico where they give birth. They generally won’t eat much for 8 months, until they return to the Arctic. Cynthia Rylant’s The Journey: Stories of Migration is a very informative children’s book with nice artwork explaining the why’s and where’s of the migration of whales, butterflies, caribou, locusts, terns and silver eels.

When people “migrate” from colder areas to warmer areas during the winter we call them snow birds, but when they come from one country to another, we call it immigration instead of migration. Destination America by Chuck Wills talks about people from all corners of the globe, and tells us why they immigrated to the United States, how they did it, and what they did once they were in America. I found this book fascinating and enjoyed looking at all the old photographs in it.

Be sure to visit A Reading Life for more reviews and news of all things happening at the Everett Public Library.

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