Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ruby Throat Hummingbird Migration, Kingfisher and Habitat Destruction

Linda and I banded ruby throated hummingbirds this morning. This is fall migration and a new wave came in ahead of the little cold front. This morning was our best in many months with 34 new captures. There were several females, adult males and many immature males. On our walk to the river we saw a Belted Kingfisher dive into the water after a fish.

The St. Tammany Parish / NRCS stream debris removal and destruction project seems to be coming to an end by our property. They agreed to stop before our property line thus saving a large area of important hummingbird breeding and nesting habitat.

We weren’t so lucky with the new neighbor who bought the land across the river and who just finished bulldozing hundreds of native shrubs and trees all along the Tchefuncte. Now bare dirt that will be susceptible to soil erosion is where wild blueberries / Huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.), native azaleas, strawberry bushes and arrow-wood viburnums full of fruit once stood. Over 30 different species of birds and many mammals could have used that fruit since Katrina had already destroyed so much of the food supply and habitat. We are also concerned about the hit that the fish and other organisms in the river will take when the rains and resulting yearly winter & spring floods wash the soil from the bare land into it.

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