Readers’ wildlife photos and hummingbird cam

We have two Squirrel Photographers today, and an animal cam at the bottom.

These two pictures are from reader Justin Martin:

As part of your creature feature, I think you may enjoy these, since you seem to also have an affinity for squirrels as I do. This particular squirrel I believe is an Andean squirrel (Sciurus pucheranii), native to the Andes region of Colombia. I visited the lovely country two weeks ago for a period of two weeks and this lovely little one (about half the size of our standard grey ones in North America) was wandering around my hostel in Medellin. She (?) was quite eager to get close when food was offered and seemed as curious about we humans as we were about it. Enjoy!

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Reader Ken Elliott from Oklahoma sent a good American squirrel:
The berries are ripe, the air is cold, and the squirrels that frequent our trees need to fatten up. I love this picture because I happened to catch this little guy’s front paws grasping the branches near his head. My new iPhone 7+ has an incredible camera. Hopefully I’ll be able to document how fat these guys get this winter with periodic captures through the cold months.

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And here’s a live animal cam showing a green-and-white hummingbird mother and babies, nesting outside a hotel in Peru. It was set up just recently, and the babies, fed frequently, are growing fast. If you watch frequently, you might catch the parent. Here’s the skinny from the Cornell Lab Bird Cam site (h/t to reader Taskin, staff of Gus):

Next to nothing is known or published about this species [JAC: it’s Amazilia viridicaudaendemic to eastern Andean forest], and when guides at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel found the nest during incubation, the countdown started ticking. From egg laying to fledging only takes about 32-36 days, and the technical staff on site had to scramble to get a camera installed, powered up, and connected to the internet. The eggs have hatched and the female is now caring for two chicks. Despite bad weather and problems with the service provider, we were able to get everything working in time to see the first few days post-hatch on camera, and while technical glitches may still arise, we wanted to be sure you had the chance to experience these diminutive birds firsthand. The biggest challenge to seeing these birds fledge isn’t even the technical aspect of the cam: it’s the high chance of the nest being predated or failing prior to fledging. Across the tropics, the rate of nest failure in open cup nesting birds can be 80% or higher! This figure holds for many of the tropical hummingbird species that have been studied, and we can’t know whether this particular nest will survive; however, most birds in the tropics cope with this reality by nesting multiple times within the breeding season, and laying fewer eggs per attempt — literally, not putting all of their eggs in one basket! Thanks for watching and learning with us.

4 Comments

  1. Mark R.
    Posted December 16, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    That second photo is hilarious. We have red squirrels in the US, but I’ve never seen one as red as this specimen. His arms and fingers seem super elongated.

    I had no idea grey squirrels enjoyed crab-apples…so sour! I guess this time of year they’ll take what they can get.

  2. rickflick
    Posted December 16, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Taking a look at the hummingbirds at the Machu Picchu hotel. Curiously, a couple of black bears wander into frame in the background near about 1/3 of the film. It’s surprising they’d be strolling so close to the facility.

  3. Bob
    Posted December 17, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Wow! I too saw the bears!

  4. Mike
    Posted December 17, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I love the way it’s camouflaged the Nest with those leaves.


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