Traveling through a forest - I find myself trudging on a muddy trail in a tropical jungle entangled with vines. Big, waxy, dark green leaves dangle over my head as I push past gigantic ferns. The mud squishes under the tread of my boots as I walk along. A thin ribbon of human pecks make our way through the dense brush of this sparsely inhabited forest. With binoculars hanging from our necks and cameras in hand, we stop to look every now and then, scanning the canopy for elusive, brilliantly colored birds. Though my enthusiasm hasn't wavered since our early morning start, I'm starting to feel the weight of my boots and the gear I've brought along. Our guide sees our slowing pace. Knowing we've been on the trail since the crack of dawn, he urges us onward. He says there's a little clearing just ahead where we can stop for lunch.
All morning it has seemed as if the canopy of trees
were almost blocking out the sunlight, but suddenly we step into a slight
clearing, a sun-dappled space where we stop to rest. Nearby me is a
flowering plant, loaded with exotic looking blooms. As I pull my sack
lunch out of my backpack, a flash of emerald and violet catches my eye. I
watch as the glistening jewel hastly zips from one flower to the next.
'Hummingbird!' I gasp quietly as my guide smiles and nods. There he
is, a lovely Violet Bellied Hummingbird, just a few feet away from where I
stand! In awe, I silently steady my camera for the photo opportunity
of a lifetime...
Then I come back to reality....I'm really just in my little office nook, staring at an image of a Violet Bellied Hummingbird on my computer, daydreaming about someday when I might have the privilege of seeing this lovely jewel in person. Though I've never been to Ecuador, I now know of just some of the many small, glistening wonders who call that beautiful country 'home'.
Have you ever wondered about the birds that live in other countries around the world? Do you think about your dream vacation spot - a place on your 'bucket list' that you'd just love to go? Are you getting ready to go somewhere fun this summer on vacation? Even if you're not taking a trip to an exotic place, you can still visit your dream location virtually just by learning about the people who live there and the animals and plants you'd find. Usually I feature a North American bird species here on In Scope, but this month I'd love to take you on virtual tour of Ecuador - my dream vacation destination - to see one of Ecuador's most beautiful hummingbirds, the Violet-Bellied Hummingbird. This jewel-tone beauty is just one of Ecuador's many fascinating hummingbirds.
Hummingbird Fun Facts
Did you know....
What attracts the Violet Bellied
Violet Bellied Hummingbirds, like all
hummingbirds, love nectar. Their primary diet consists of drinking
nectar from flowering plants though, like other hummers, they do eat
What to Look For -
If you ever get the opportunity to see this species in person, look for Violet Bellied Hummingbirds near nectar-rich flowering plants at ground level. Violet Bellied Hummingbirds spend most of the time near the ground, but may fly higher into the trees when flowers are blooming higher up within their natural habitat.
Zoom In: Species Profile
The scientific name of the Violet Bellied Hummingbird is Damophila julie. It is a small bird 2 3/4 inches to 3 1/2 inches long. Male and female differ in appearance. The male is mostly a brilliant, iridescent green color over most of his body with a bright, metallic violet-blue underside and bronzy-green rump. His wings are dark colored with a glistening purple hue. The female is also mostly green with a bronzy-green rump, but has a light gray belly and slightly whiter chest. She also has dark wings with a metallic purple hue. Both males and females have a distinctly rounded tail. The voice of the Violet Bellied Hummingbird sounds very much like a hissing or screeching insect - sounding like 'eeeee eehh, eeeee eehh' or 'prrreeee, prrreeee'.
The nest of the Violet Bellied Hummingbird is much like the nests of their North American counterparts. It consists of a small cup lined with soft material such as plant down and animal hair built between 4 - 13 feet from ground level. The female lays 2 tiny white eggs. She cares for the young herself - like most if not all hummingbirds, the male does not help with rearing the young.
The preferred habitat of the Violet Bellied Hummingbird is subtropical and tropical dry forests and wet forests at low elevations as well as deforested regions that were once native forests. There range includes the Colombia, Panama, Peru, the Northwestern part of South America including Ecuador and occasionally Costa Rica.
This month's activity is a Violet-Bellied Hummingbird
coloring page. It is available as a free PDF. To
download, simply click here.
I've probably mentioned before that hummingbirds are like 'living jewels'. I love hummingbirds almost more than any other bird (don't tell the swallows and the thrushes - I really, really do love them too :). Any chance I get to hummingbird watch - I thoroughly enjoy it. I seek them out with my camera lens and binoculars. I daydream about getting to see hummingbirds in exotic places. Forget real jewels, I'll take the living ones, thank you! Yes, I'm a hummingbird fanatic, I admit it. But there's another type of jewel that is more important than all others - more important than precious stones and more to be sought after than exotic hummingbirds. It is the Wisdom of God. The Bible says in Proverbs 3:13 - 18 NIV,
"Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you can desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her wyas are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed."
Having the Wisdom of God is a blessing - one that will bless us throughout our whole lives lived here on here into life eternal. Its my hope and prayer that each one of us has the Wisdom of God above all else. Thanks so much for stopping by - until next time, God bless you!
By, Jessi Wasell