The start of this blog also coincides with the start of my current field season. I am studying black-chinned hummingbirds at the Audubon Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch. I first need to say that this ranch is not open to the public, however if you are interested in visiting please contact the ranch staff (link). With that said, this place is amazing! It is a grassland littered with canyons and riparian areas (the land around running or dried up creeks and streams). Here are some pictures of the land and the different habitats I’m exploring.
I’ve been focusing on the canyons and riparian areas to find my hummingbirds. I usually find males perching on a bare tree top, keeping watch on their territories (left). However, many of the trees these males have been choosing are in some tough to reach spots, like along the ridges of long canyons. I’ve only found a few males so far, but as I learn the lay of the land and speak to bird experts in the area, I expect to have much more success. In addition to finding hummingbirds, I’m finding so many other animals, including several species of birds, a plethora of deer, many lizards and snakes, and some interesting insects. I’m very excited to continue to explore this area and do my work here as it is such a beautiful place and full of interesting creatures!