Intelligent hummingbirds prepare to migrate south
T&G Reader Georges gavutis shared that last week, for the first time, a confident hummingbird flew over to his watering bucket to sip a drink while George poured it over some of his garden plants. Fascinatingly, hummingbirds can recognize individual people and even fly around them to indicate that a nectar feeder is empty.
Like every year in mid-September, when the large-winged hawks fly over and our nectar sources start to dry up, our charming hummingbirds also leave us for their long journey to Mexico and Central America. I will miss them and their entertaining antics.
They have a perilous journey ahead of them, including predators and hurricanes. Their hyperactive lives are brief, 3 to 5 years at most. If they survive their trip, they will come back here – to the same feeders – taking the same route they used before and surprisingly arriving at our properties the day they arrived last year.
The cerebral GPS capabilities of hummingbirds and their lifelong fidelity to their breeding sites are truly amazing. The magnetite in their brains helps them accurately distinguish the subtle differences in the earth’s magnetic fields – and return to exactly where they nestled before.
As it has been several days since my three residents last visited my feeders (September 20), I will still be keeping them a little longer, as they could provide fuel for other migrating hummingbirds passing through here. . I could keep them until our first frost. By then, the vast majority of our hummingbirds will be long gone.
Unlike all of our other songbirds, hummingbirds never flock. Their migration takes place entirely alone, and only during the day, when they fly at low altitude to periodically refuel on the sources of nectar. At night, when all the other songbirds migrate at high altitudes, they all rest.
Meanwhile, to my surprise, nocturnal caterpillars, unlike most earthworms, came out of part of my lawn in the late afternoon. The soil temperature and humidity for this behavior was perfect. Although mostly nocturnal, they will now dare to come to the surface to mate or feed as much as possible on fallen leaves and other plants before the winter famine. Then they should stay well underground below the frost line. Here in Massachusetts, that safe zone can be a meter deep in total darkness. But at least there they are not in danger of becoming worms.
Hailing from Western Europe, these introduced aliens detrimentally outperform our native American earthworms, which have severely declined wherever nightcrawlers exist. When they emerge from their vertical burrows, they typically roam up to 50 feet in search of food – or other nocturnal caterpillars. Hot nights, cold nights or very dry conditions deter them from emerging.
Normally, they remove plant litter to eat inside their burrows – and deposit rich, soil-enriching waste on the surface. Their hermaphroditic mating is fascinating. Each nightcrawler is both male and female.
After many visits to each other’s burrows, the pairs pair up – each exchanging semen above the ground about once a week for several weeks. Mating adults, aged 2 years and older, store each other’s sperm for up to 8 months, after which they produce cocoons, where fertilization of the eggs takes place. Their cocoon is placed in a small, shallow hole right next to the parents’ burrow. Ironically, as nocturnal caterpillars thrive in America, back in their native Europe, they have become an endangered species thanks to the introduction of highly predatory flatworms accidentally introduced from Australia and New Zealand.
My daughter Jessica came to visit him with his two grandsons, Cameron and Connor. As we walked through the gardens so they could pick raspberries and tomatoes, she felt something crawl on her foot in sandals. At first she thought it was a baby snake, but it turned out to be a big nightcrawler.
It was one of about two dozen my grandsons liked to get together to go fishing with their father. They also planned to feed some to their voracious chickens at home.
Intrepid and not at all disgusted with handling the slippery nocturnal caterpillars, they eagerly hunted anyone they could find. The event reminded me of the camp song we used to sing so comically in our youth.
âOh, the first one was easy. The second was squeezy. The third one got stuck in my thro-oo-oat. Big juicy fat. Long slim viscous. Blurry, slippery, undulating, undulating worms.
Robins love worms, as do many of our freshwater fish. While most serious anglers use artificial products that include bucktails, spoons, soft plastic jigs, and top water plugs, the nightcrawler can sometimes fish all of our advanced lures. You can fish it in several ways.
The easiest way is to just thread your hook through about an inch of it starting with the head; put on a bobber and maybe split shot – and wait for an inevitable hit. If there is fish around, that nightcrawler will disappear – either nibbled and stolen – or impaled deep into the fish, allowing the meat fisherman to enjoy a good fight – and possible dinner.
Some trout fishermen, however, will float nocturnal caterpillars very efficiently from the bottom, injecting them with air with a worm blower. This advanced strategy, available at most bait shops, allows the angler to fish deeply, but the bait is visible above dense plants or other bottom debris, where cruising fish can easily. see the allure. With MassWildlife stocking trout in many of our lakes and ponds, this is a good way to bring dinner home if you are not a catch and release angler.
MassWildlife offers a seminar for women wishing to start hunting
MassWildlife is once again offering women the chance to learn how to hunt deer as part of their Become a Woman Outdoors Hunting and Hunting Seminar Program.
Part one: The virtual deer hunting seminar will take place online via Zoom on October 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Part Two: The Outdoor Field Skills Seminar will be held on Saturday, October 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Shirley Rod & Gun Club with staff and volunteer guides. Women will develop skills in the field including shooting, knowledge of hunting equipment, spotting, tracking blood trails and learning when to shoot and when not to shoot.
Part three: is a virtual pre-hunter meeting on Monday, November 22 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. online, one week before the hunt, which will take place at Devens South Post Military Area in Lancaster, a real hot spot for white tails.
Fourth part: On Monday, November 29, the one-day hunt will take place with an experienced deer hunter as a guide and mentor.
Space is limited. To be considered for this great opportunity, women must apply online by Monday September 27th. Registration preference will be given to new participants. Contact the MassFishHunt website or call MassWildlife in Westborough at (508) 389-6300.
âContact Mark Blazis at [email protected]