Entry for May 07, 2007

Beija flor!

This is the name for hummingbirds in Brasil, it means ‘flower kisser’, an apt enough description for hummingbirds. I didn’t take this photo myself, but it was taken here in Sao Paulo by a bird expert (photo & info credit: www.arthurgosset.com), I found it on the internet while attempting to identify the humming birds that are coming to the feeder I recently put up on one of our balconies. So this one, common here even in the city, is known as a swallowtailed humming bird, and they’re large by hummingbird standards, this little guy is about 6″ from beak tip to tail tip.

I think that actually the feeder is being defended by one beija-flor, any time I see more than one bird at the feeder, one always chases the other one off, on one occasion roughly enough to knock one of them into the window! In a National Geographic article on hummers I learned that they are very territorial and aggressive, hence naturalist Sheri Williamson says: “I think the hummingbird vocabulary is a hundred percent swear words.” So much for the tiny and cute image.

Anyway, I am going to try and get a picutre of one myself, if I can get the patience to sit still long enough to catch one, I’m not sure that the combined reflexes of myself and the camera will be quick enough, these guys are fast. There is another pic to the left here that shows the irridescent colors better, but when I see them, they appear mostly black due to the speed they are traveling at.

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