The Birds Seen at the
Great Salt Lake Bird Festival
Original Art by Brad Gray
Text by Ella Sorensen
those tiny, incredibly beautiful jewels of nature, occur only in the
The bill is
black, slender, pointed, needle-like. Its throat (male) is chilly red, its
feathers are flaming like a fire, they glisten they glow. Its breast is green,
its wings and tail resemble quetzal feathers.
In shrubs, in trees it builds itself a nest, lays two eggs, sits, hatches
its young, raises its young. Its food is flower nectar. It is whirling, active.
It flies, it darts, it chirps. (Excerpted from Florentine Codex)
humming bird species in the world range from 325-340. Only the tyrant flycatcher
family lists more species than the hummingbird family. Most numerous near the
Equator, nesting species numbers decline as latitudes become more northern.
Four species regularly nest in
hummingbird, the most frequent high-elevation nesting hummingbird, is the most
common species in
describing a hummingbird, the Aztec account slips into folklore and myth.
the winter, it hibernates. It insets
its bill in a tree; (hanging) there it shrinks, shrivels, molts.
And when the tree sprouts, when it leafs out, at this time(the hummingbird) also grows features once again.
And when it thunders for rain, at that time it awakens, moves, comes to
(Excerpted from Florentine Codex)
inspired by keen observation of a reality! Hummingbirds have the ability when
food resources are short to enter into a state called torpor, a deep, sleep-like
state. Hummingbird metabolism requires huge amounts of energy. This torpor
capability is especially important for Broad-tailed hummingbirds whose high
elevation nesting habitat is subject to short flowering seasons, frequent storms
and nocturnal dips in temperature. Torpor allows the hummingbird to reserve
energy for flight when conditions are favorable.