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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Waterloo in Lauderdale County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Tiny Jewels of the Air

 
 
Tiny Jewels of the Air Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
1. Tiny Jewels of the Air Marker
Inscription. Few birds are as distinctive and charismatic as hummingbirds. From their iridescent plumage to their incredible aerial antics, hummingbirds are an irresistible attraction at Rock Springs. Each fall, hundreds of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds pass this way to feast on the nectar of the abundant jewelweed and other wildflowers.

Hummingbirds and certain flowers have evolved an interdependent relationship over millions of years. Flowers provide humming-birds nectar, the fuel they need to keep flying. In return, hummingbirds transport pollen between flowers, helping the flowers reproduce.

The flowers of choice are long and tubular and usually red, a color bees have trouble seeing. This shape fits the hummingbird’s long bill and allows pollen to be deposited on the bird’s forehead. Individual flowers usually grow separate from one another, allowing ample space for whirring wings as the hummingbird dashes from flower to flower. Pollen from flowers powders the head of these tiny jewels as they sip nectar. Subsequently, this pollen is then spread to other flowers on which the hummingbird feeds.

Faster Than a Speeding Hummingbird?
A hummingbird’s small size and rapid movement can make it difficult to watch for long. Fortunately, hummingbirds will often perch on an overhead branch and draw attention to themselves
Spring Migration of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
2. Spring Migration of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Close-up of map on marker
by making high squeaky chipping noises. To spot a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird, look for their iridescent throat--called a gorget. The color of the gorget depends on the lighting and in most instances looks dark. It is only when the feathers catch light at a certain angle that their intricate beauty can be seen. In good light the male Ruby-throated Hummingbird is unmistakable with his bright ruby red throat.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Migration
Each year, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate from eastern North America to winter in Central America. Although some of the birds work their way south through Florida to the Caribbean or south through Texas to Mexico, Alabama’s hummingbirds fly across the Gulf of Mexico. These incredible creatures undertake a 600-mile voyage across open water to find warm weather and plentiful nectar further south.

Rare Surprises From the West
Each fall, bird watchers from across Alabama visit these patches of jewelweed to witness the spectacle of hundreds of hummingbirds on their southward migration. As an added bonus, these large concentrations of hummingbirds sometimes attract western hummingbird species that have strayed from their usual migration route, particularly in the winter. Species to look for in the fall include Rufous, Black-chinned, Calliope, and Anna’s, among the Ruby-throated.
 
Erected by
Marker (Center) near Rock Spring Trail Head image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
3. Marker (Center) near Rock Spring Trail Head
Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries.
 
Location. 34° 51.477′ N, 87° 54.33′ W. Marker is near Waterloo, Alabama, in Lauderdale County. Marker can be reached from Natchez Trace Parkway (at milepost 330.2), 1.4 miles north of County Road 2, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is located at the Rock Spring turnout on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Marker is in this post office area: Waterloo AL 35677, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rock Spring (a few steps from this marker); Wilson's Headquarters and Camp (approx. 1.8 miles away); Colbert Ferry (approx. 2.5 miles away); George Colbert Memorial (approx. 2.7 miles away); Colbert's Stand (approx. 2.7 miles away); Macedonia Church of Christ (approx. 4.7 miles away); Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church and Cemetery (approx. 7.5 miles away); History of Cherokee (approx. 8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Waterloo.
 
More about this marker. Marker is at Site 10 of the North Alabama Birding Trail.
 
Categories. Environment
 
Tiny Jewels of the Air and Rock Spring Markers image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
4. Tiny Jewels of the Air and Rock Spring Markers
Entrance to Site 10 of the North Alabama Birding Trail image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
5. Entrance to Site 10 of the North Alabama Birding Trail
Marker visible in background
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 307 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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