2021 Edition

Wayne Kliewer

Costa Rica Jewels

Costa Rica

Category - Incredible Wildlife

Costa Rica Jewels

A word from the photographer: “This image could have been titled: Costa Rica Jewels. The variety of species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica, and the rest of the world, is truly nature's jewels. Hummingbirds are some of nature’s most fiercely competitive animals, considering their tiny size. They will defend their home territory and especially their favorite flowers against invaders. They can be very aggressive towards other hummingbirds. This behavior can be linked to the surprising fact that flowers are not always abundant where hummingbirds live. For example, the rainforests of Costa Rica can be lush and full of trees and bushes. Yet, there might not be many wildflowers for these nectar’s feeders. Most of the hummingbirds will be found near the edges of the forests where there are more flowers. Hummingbirds can also be found near gardens, where there are smaller bee populations, and the flowers need pollinators. Hummingbirds (and bats) often fulfill that task as they flit from one flower to the next one. Like many species of animals, hummingbirds have evolved to fit their environment. While you can find some species of hummingbirds spread throughout a large geographic area (for example Central America and a large area of South America), it is more likely that hummingbird's distribution will be more localized. It might be possible to find some hummingbirds only at the highest elevations or only near sea level. Probably related to the type of flowers found in each zone. Hummingbird populations in general are healthy. Yet, their food sources tend to be fragile and even small environmental shifts could cause quick and threatening impacts on hummingbirds. A small drift in temperatures over time, could impact the number and type of flowers a region supports. As the flowers are impacted, so are the hummingbirds.”