1-7 April 2000

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  • Perhaps the first trees to flower each spring at Hilton Pond Center are the Red Maples (Acer rubrum). Their pinkish flowers are soon replaced by winged fruit in the same hue. Technically called "samaras," the seeds (right) are joined in pairs but as they ripen break apart with the slightest wind. The seed's propeller-like wing allows it to descend like a helicopter-- often some distance from the parent tree--which helps assure that the new maple seedling isn't competing for space with its own parent. Because of this aerodynamic means of propagation, Red Maples are sometimes able to colonize old fields and recently timbered areas, making them one of the first trees to show up in vegetational succession. (Photo © Hilton Pond Center)

  • The year's first Ruby- throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)--a male with a bright red gorget--showed up at a Hilton Pond Center feeder at 9:15 am EDT on 3 April. An hour later, we made the first capture of the year--possibly the same bird--and banded it as #T86441 (right). As usual, we also colored marked the bird with a GREEN breast mark in the hope it might be sighted elsewhere. The earliest hummer on record at Hilton Pond Center was a male banded on 27 March 1991. (Photo © Hilton Pond Center)
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Chipping Sparrow
American Goldfinch
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
Mourning Dove

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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this Web site--including all articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.