After watching a man stalk a hummingbird through the Tucson Botanical Gardens for an afternoon, I wrote a book about photographing a hummingbird. Around and around the man went. The bird appeared to be intentionally taunting him. The man’s tale is told in the humorous book I call How NOT to Photograph a Hummingbird.
I have also spent a fair share of time trying to photograph hummers, but recently I expanded my chasing activity to another species. This bird flitted around the stalls where I board my horse. His bright colors contrasted with the tan ground and gray bars of the stalls. I whipped out my cell phone to get the shot. He flew off to another stall. I pursued. He flew. From stall to stall we went. The bird streaked away. No photograph obtained.
I was delighted when the bird returned the next day. The pursuit continued. Stall to stall without success. I gave up and haltered my horse for a walk. When we reached the turnout pen, there he was – posing at the top of a tree. Perhaps he felt this perch gave me the better shot, and he allowed me to complete my quest.
The magnificent bird pictured above is a male Vermillion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus), perched on a mesquite tree.
Lyric Power Publishing LLC invites Curtis Curly-tail Lizard to
announce his new YouTube video at Curtis Curly-tail Speaks!
“Hello, everyone! I’m Curtis Curly-tail and I am here at Lyric Power Publishing to announce my latest video! But first, let me tell you how much I love roadrunner birds. Did you know when they leave tracks behind, you can’t tell what direction they came from or where they went? I wish I could do that! And roadrunners are really, really fast. That makes me a little frightened of them, too, because they do love their lizard snacks. We lizards are pretty fast, ourselves. So far, so good.
In a previous blog on elaineapowers.com, I complained about the lack of bats during my evening swims. I hypothesized that the bats were afraid of the Great Horned Owls nesting in my yard. (Owls are natural predators of bats.)
A hypothesis is a proposed explanation based on limited information, a starting point for further investigation. My hypothesis, therefore, was that the lack of bats in my yard was the direct result of predatory behavior of Great Horned Owls.
The owls finished their nesting season, successfully fledging their owlets. With the departure of their young, the pair of owls left my yard. A few nights later, I realized that the bats had returned to my home. I took this as a positive datum that my hypothesis was correct. Of course, this is only one data point, but I feel it is somewhat conclusive.
I will be curious to see, should the owls return, if the bats leave again. I do have excellent owl habitat, along with bat habitat.
The fascinating world of science is always all around us, even in our own backyards.
As we humans expand our footprint into the natural environment, the wildlife often suffer—but some do adjust. Usually, the presence of people and their structures, poisons, etc., is detrimental to the populations of owls. But in my neighborhood, one species has found a way to co-exist: the Great Horned Owl. Being generalists (having many food prey), Great Horned Owls can live in a variety of habitats, including urban areas.
The owls pictured here live on top of a cellular telephone tower. They have a nest on it where they have raised several broods of young. During the rest of the year, they use it a convenient observation post. The owls don’t seem to mind the activities of the humans below. Maybe we are their entertainment, and they’re enjoying watching us as much as we enjoy watching them.
It’s wonderful to share our lives with local wildlife.
To see Lyric Power Publishing’s books about birds, go to Our Books. You’ll see such fun, science-based books like this one:
Lyric Power Publishing LLC is proud to announce the arrival of four new books! Here at LPP we love weaving science into adventure tales and rhyming books. We love colorful, exciting illustrations. We hope you will enjoy three wonderful new additions to our book catalog and a special guest listing for Ricky Ricordi.
I live in Southern Arizona and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy sightings of one of my favorite locals, the Roadrunner. Talk about a fascinating bird! I write interesting facts about Roadies into a picture book called Don’t Make me Fly! Kids love the rhymes and illustrations, but I am a biologist and everyone learns something about roadrunners in this book. Science education is important to me, and I love making it fun.
I highly recommend a newly released book by my friend, Bonnie Scott. We share a love of conservation, iguanas, and the animals of Cayman Brac. She recently published her book about the brown booby, Brown Booby Birds of Cayman Brac. It’s filled with her marvelous photographs.
And I loved the island story of a lost juvenile brown booby and featured him in one of my books, Fly Back to the Brac, Brian Brown Booby, which is based on the true story of “Brian,” who was finally able to learn to fly and find his family. He’s pretty famous in the Brac.
Where are you spending this holiday season? I enjoy spending the holidays at my mother’s house in Ft. Myers, FL, in an RV park across from Sanibel Island. I have very fond memories of Sanibel. My family spent many vacations there, back when the ferry took everyone across to the island before the causeway was built.
During my 2018 holiday stay, I went to visit the lighthouse where I had worked with the Youth Conservation Corps. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge had its office on this Coast Guard lighthouse site. The Fort Myers area, including Sanibel, had the typical Christmas and holiday decorations. Even the lighthouse had been festooned. But I always preferred the decoration that nature provided, the magnificent osprey!
The authors and staff of Lyric Power Publishing would like to wish all HappyHolidays–a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa Blessings, Happy Yalda Day, Happy Pancha Ganapati, and Blessings of the Winter Solstice!
Earlier this year, I wouldn’t have written about the national day of the horse. But this past summer, I did something inconceivable: I had never wanted a horse, yet I became a horse owner.
I just wanted to be comfortable riding around the Sonoran Desert. I was having trouble with stirrups, so some equestrian friends suggested I take bareback lessons. The daughter of an author friend became my trainer. I loved riding bareback. The connection between the horse and me was wonderful. We could feel each other as we moved.
My lessons involved two horses, easy-going Lady and stubborn Button. I always liked riding Button the best. I fit nicely on her (she’s only 14.2 hands) and I enjoyed the challenge. As the saying goes, “Calm seas do not a skilled sailor make.” She was stubborn, and I was determined. I guess that comes from handling large, muscular lizards.
A couple of years into our lessons, we realized Button had chosen me as her human. I was honored. After that realization, I knew that if something happened and Button needed a new home, I’d be willing to take her. The next morning, my trainer asked me if I would take Button. She was getting married and couldn’t keep Button at her new home. Of course, I said yes . . .without even thinking. I am happy with my decision.
Future posts will feature my developing relationship with my special horse. As you can see, she really is as cute as a Button.
If you’d enjoy learning about the Sonoran Desert, and laughing as you do so, this fun story is for you:
I like to write about word use and finding more interesting, active verbs for more exciting writing. For instance, did the lizard skitter or scurry? In writing about a bananaquit, a small bird that flies rapidly from spot to spot, the question came up: Is the bird flittering or fluttering? The same question could be asked of butterflies. Do they flitter or flutter? English is such an interesting language.
Flitter and flutter can both be used as verbs. Even though they are only one letter different, they do describe different motions. Flittering suggests movement in a quick and seemingly random manner. Fluttering, in contrast, suggests the winged creature is flying unsteadily or irregularly. So, even though both words indicate flapping (another similar-sounding word) of wings, fluttering means wobbly motion, while flittering means flying nimbly. So, in the case of my bananaquit, she is flittering from branch to branch.
You’ll get to meet this bananquit in the upcoming book, Curtis Curly-tail Goes to the Doctor. In the meantime, please enjoy the previous books in the series.
Color eight different birds in this workbook, including the Bananaquit!
Did you know there are two kinds of ravens in the Sonoran Desert? Ravens are one of my favorite birds: intelligent, caring, magnificent in appearance. I have wondered about the wisdom of a black bird living in the hot desert sun, but they are resilient.
Several years ago, a pair of ravens hung out around the building where I worked. I always enjoyed their cawing to me as I entered or exited and I wondered every time what kind they were. You see, the Sonoran Desert has two species of ravens: the Common (Corvus corax) and the Chihuahuan (Corvus cryptoleucus). They both appear black, including their eyes, beaks and legs, and they are about the same size. They both have a heavy, powerful bill for their omnivorous ways, eating anything and everything.
So, how do you tell them apart?
The Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus) is a native of both the U.S. and Mexico and its former name gives a clue as to how to tell them apart: The American White-necked Raven is now known as the Chihuahuan Raven. But where is this supposed white neck? You certainly can’t see any white feathers when it’s perched or flying. You can only see the white feathers when the wind ruffles the neck. Only then are the white feathers underneath revealed.
I was fortunate enough to see the white feathers on one of the worksite raves. I had my answer–they were Chihuahuan!
And for a fun time learning about animals,Lyric Power Publishingoffers workbooks and activity sheets on a variety of creatures. We don’t yet offer a workbook on Ravens, but we do have two workbooks about the Greater Roadrunner, one for Grades K-2 and the second for Grades 2-4. The covers below show the variety of activity pages included in the workbooks.
Thank you for stopping by LPP. We hope you’ve enjoyed this post and will also enjoy and benefit from our supplemental, educational workbooks.
To learn about our latest science-based children’s books and workbooks, to read our latest blog posts about reptiles, birds, cats, and gardening, in a variety of locations, and about how the books come to be, what inspires an author to write, and many more interesting aspects of the publishing business, fill in the box below and we will add you to our email list.
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