I finally got some good closeup shots of one of the hummingbirds that have been entertaining us on our back patio in recent weeks. [This photo shows a female Ruby-throated hummingbird (the only hummer species in the eastern U.S.), which can be identified by the white throat. Immature male Ruby-throats have streaks and/or small red patches on their throats.] Unfortunately, the colorful adult male(s) isn't/aren't showing up as much as the female(s) for the past couple days.
NOTE: I retouched this photo to yield sharper definition; to see the original version, just click on it.
Bird diversity map
The Imperial College of London (link via Connie) has published a global map showing where various bird species live, highlighting their biodiversity. It is a more complicated picture than most people had thought.
"In the past people thought that all types of biodiversity showed the same sort of pattern, but that was based on small-scale analyses," says senior author Professor Ian Owens of Imperial College London. "Our new global analyses show that different sorts of diversity occur in very different places.
The team mapped three different measures of diversity for the study: species richness, threatened species richness (as assessed by their extinction risk), and endemic species richness (birds with a small breeding range). Only the Andes in South America contains bird hotspots under all three measures.