Of birds and butterflies

I can see it now. The hummingbird at a bird convention denying all claims that it dies each autumn and comes back to life each spring. Or that it travels across oceans and seas by hitching a ride on the back of a goose. This little bird certainly attracts its fair share of myths and legends. To be so close that I could feel the air move as it hovered – that was special.  I didn’t know that all 341 species of hummingbird live in the Western Hemisphere. Or that they can eat twice their body weight – every day. And there’s more:

At La Paz yesterday, I checked out the birds, the butterflies, the frogs, the orchids, and the cats but left the snakes alone. We’d already see some butterflies at the national museum but they’re so lovely to look at, I happily went again. The Blue morpho is particularly attractive. It looks brown until it opens its wings and then you get a glimpse of the stunning blue.

I had my heart set on seeing a toucan up close and personal and was not disappointed. They’re quite the bird and a stellar example of how nature has given us an ability to cope with the heat. Most noticeable for their bill, the largest of any bird in the world when compared to their size, this bill is actually a heat regulator. When the toucan gets hot, arteries in its bill expands and release heat. How great would it be if every time I opened my mouth in the summer and stuck out my tongue, I could cool down!



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