Sep 28th 2017 by dcretiree • 58 Questions • 775 Points
I’m a Field Biologist, who specializes in Hummingbirds, I’m also a Conservation Photographer, I’ve been doing research and photography in the tropics for over tens year, mostly in Costa Rica and Panama.
This upcoming year I’ll be traveling again to Costa Rica to work on a multi-year project I co-founded in Northern Costa Rica. We look at the site fidelity of Neotropical migrants, habitat usage of resident birds, and Hummingbird populations.
I have been working hard to use Social Media, as a platform to bring greater awareness to Research, Conservation, and Science.
I wanted to take this opportunity to showcase some of my work and talk to people about the research and photography.
Recent articles: http://www.audubon.org/news/mites-take-flight-hummingbird-beaks http://www.audubon.org/news/these-vivid-bird-photographs-nearly-fly-screen http://www.biographic.com/posts/sto/golden-eye
Proof: Twitter account @GourmetScience
Hi guys. Thanks for going to bat for us.
Ajit Pai’s appointment as the head of the FCC is such a glaring and blindingly obvious conflict of interest with his background as an attorney for Verizon (who would greatly benefit from not having to adhere to Title II regulations). Why is this allowed to happen? Not just at the FCC, but all over the government we have appointments of people who are running organizations that they have spent the past decade vowing to destroy. Do we have any legal protection from malicious oversight?
What is the weirdest thing a fan has ever given or done for you?
Outside my house, there seems to be one or two hummingbirds guarding all of our hummingbird feeders. Is there anything we can do to help more hummingbirds have access to sugar water? And is there anything we can do to attract more hummingbirds?
Try to develop a positive attitude. By that I don't mean being a Pollyanna, but try to focus on what is good in one's life. And also realize the importance of reaching out and helping those in need as much as one can.
In discussing this with members of the younger generation who often speak in terms of happiness, my tendency is to want to feel useful even if it's just greedy people on the street when I approach them.
While there are a lot of laws that the government is required to follow, the courts often don’t allow individuals to file suit to enforce them. The legal doctrine is called “standing,” and you usually need to show a “particularized harm.” But that’s a great question. We’ll take a look at what specific laws might apply and whether there is a way to bring a suit. Otherwise, it’s something that has to be handled politically (ie, at the ballot box). Not a satisfying answer, we know.
So Males are really good at patrolling one or two feeders, making it so no other Hummingbirds use those feeders. Putting out more feeders will decrease the competition, so he can no longer dominate the feeder. Or separating the feeders so they can't be seen by the individual can also work.
Thanks for doing this and great work so far. Just to play out what is lamentably (to me) a plausible scenario: Let’s say you’re successful in compelling the FCC to comply with the FOIA request, and it proves that the comments were fraudulent. What happens then?
Let’s also say that net neutrality was successfully (or effectively) eliminated, what happens then if the above scenario turned out to be true. What would happen then? Is there any precedent for either scenario? What a mess!
Who would you want to play you in a Sons of Anarchy prequel?
My 5 yo daughter named the little guy who fights of all the other hummingbirds “Guarder”.
Other than the joy of reminiscing, I find the excitement of the present to me all I want or need. If looking at world conditions it might well be the 50s when we finally had peace for a while and we were rebuilding both the world and our country. It was also personally satisfy because of satisfaction in my work personally and with a growing family of four children
Benedict Cumberbatch! Because I'd like to be skinny and British.
How do I explain the importance of Net Neutrality to people who don't understand how to work their TV remote, let alone what an ISP is?
Now that photos have been released, how do you feel about the 'new' Hellboy?
How do you get such a nice, even black background in so many of your up-close shots? I wonder that every time I see one of your Instagram photos-- you're one of my favorite accounts, as a young ecologist and photographer.
Of course Jake knows it's a "no." But at the rate I'm going there drinking to be no money left in the will.
I've made my peace with it. I refuse to answer any questions about it.
It depends on the photos but usually using multiple corss angle flashes in a very low setting with very larger diffusers, or using specialized black felt that counters the flash. So usually I'm lugging a lot of gear into the field, everything I photograph is in the field, not a lab or anything.
Hi Ron, love your movies! If you had just one piece of advice you've learned throughout your life to pass on to the younger generations, what would it be?
Here in central Va., the hummers were late arrivals by a month it seemed. Now they appear to be leaving early. What's going on? Mother Nature, I'm sure?
It's an interesting question, however we accepted pretty much everything at face value and were perhaps not as critical as people are today. Except, and this is a very, very large exception the changing musical culture. And I was even part of a rather strict religious community that considered dancing to be evil.
Make failure your friend. Once you do that you can't lose. What to I mean by that? If you regard every failure as a victory, all you will ever know is victory.
It seem's like a lot of people are telling me about erratic migrations of Ruby-thoarts this year, I'm sure the strange weather effecting their feeding sources has something to do with it. I will be very interested to see what numbers look like from banding this year, and my own observations of them in Costa Rica come November
Ron, big fan! There's no mistaking that face or voice, and yet you're the perfect cast in virtually every part you've played. Chitown Cheers to you!
My question: Which insane fantasy character or creature HAVEN'T you played that you've always had your eye on?
My father in law has a feeder that has been frequented by an all white hummingbird, how rare are "albino" hummingbirds?
Thank you for asking. I tried to give all the publicity I can to something that is very dear to my heart. I can only think of the millions by school athletes this Friday will face the dilemma from peers, parents, coaches and community. Many of them have admired role models who have taken a courageous stand drawing attention to centuries of racial inequities. The dilemma heightened by patriotism, respect for the progress it is been made through the years. Where I had a high school or college game, I think I would stand for the start of the national anthem and when "the rockets red glare" words came through halfway through, I would Leal still holding my hand over my heart.
I have more the thought that our president has chosen to put people in this dilemma. His ignorance of history is underscored by his wanting more brutality in the sport not realizing that at the turn-of-the-century Pres. Theodore Roosevelt called a conference of university presidents having seen how brutal the sport had already become with 18 athletes dying that year in participation.
Dictated but not proofread
They are not very common and have caused quite a stir in the ornithological field. Albino Hummingbirds seem to draw in large crowds to see them. Was this the famous one out west this summer, I believe in California?
This might be the 2nd or 3rd time I'm calling legislators complaining about net neutrality under attack. Will lawmakers continue to bring it up until the people lose interest?
Are there any laws protecting the people from constant barrage of defeated legislation?
Saw a picture of you, Action Bronson, Mario Batali with a fourth guy. How was dinner?
And more importantly how do I get an invite to such a cool group of people?
Dinner was great... as for the rest... good luck! We went to one of Mario's places called La Sirena... phenomenal food, as are all of Mario's restaurants!
Very cool, I'm sure that was quite an individual to watch. Did he have bird enthusiast wanting to see it?
I feel like transparency in the government kind of a no brainer. There is obviously a need for operational security, but it seems like the government abuses that classification quite a bit. What kind of arguments do you guys hear from the government in defenses of their lack of transparency?
Why doesn't anybody ever bring up how fucking great City of Lost Children was?
What was the most awe-inspiring moment you've had while in the field?
I truly believe that trying each day to show them you are interested in them and care about them is the primary requisite. It's also important to show a love of your subject and of learning. It's a tough job especially for those who fully pour themselves into it by their preparation and taking time to their students in extra class activities
People do but it's not the most popular film I've ever been in.
I think the first time I went to the tropics, it still stands out. I had wanted to go to the rainforest since I was a little kid. The first morning I opened the door, a toucan flew into a tree and parrots were squawking loudly, I knew this is what I wanted to see all the time.
Where were you when the bombing of Pearl Harbor happened? What did you do at the home front before joining the military?
Pineapple on pizza or no?
Do you ever get frustrated having to fight the same FOIA battle with different government officials over and over again? And if so, how do you push through?
Have you ever wanted to play a daycare center employee with a heart of gold?
Hahaha landed in a nearby palm tree. I think a toucan doing a kamikaze dive within my first minutes might have been negative.
If you come back, look me up! We'll go have a beer. We can go visit my uncle in Georgetown who flew B-17 in WWII and y'all can shoot the shit.
Have received death threats for your actions? What type of investigation is being done about the Chicago black site?
Thanks for the work you've done in and for the community.
Is putting sugar water in a hummingbird feedto attract them to my garden a good thing for them or am I just giving them the human equivalent of a ton of birthday cake?
What's your most exciting experience been in the field?
And I was just there in April. One of the favorite things I have to do there the musician Jim Cullum who used to be at the landing at the Hilton on the river. He now plays in several small clubs. If you like jazz, you must go hear him. Tell him you know his friend in Washington DC
Happily no, we have not received any death threats. There is currently civil rights litigation pending about Homan Square. There was a recent ruling ordering the City to search for any Rahm Emanuel emails about this. Here is a Tribune article about the case: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-homan-square-lawsuit-20151020-story.html
This is the normal way people attract them, they are usually searching out for sources that give them similar nutrients, similar to sugar water. So you're providing a source of food, which can be vital in some areas, depending on your location.
I am a big fan of political books written during WWII. I've slowly come to the conclusion that this is because the authors were living in times where truth was being suffocated and as the most powerful countermeasure even against bombs and bullets was to speak the truth, the whole truth, without any other agendas to the best of their human abilities. Just as one example, the urgency with which Karl Popper wrote "The Open Society And Its Enemies" from exile in New Zealand is astonishing to me.
What are your thoughts on the uniqueness of this era regarding the battle for truth and is it only replicable in times of profound darkness like WWII?
What is taking the longest amount of time in the legal process? It seems like most of your cases last years.
My hummingbirds love my home made nectar with one part raw sugar and four parts water. They finish it so fast I clean and refill every two to three days. Do you recommend anything else as nectar? EDIT: I use organic cane sugar and TIL should just use plain white sugar. Here's a video of me trying to hand feed them but no luck yet. https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=DmzCxb3gro4&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D-rmTHTx6bDU%26feature%3Dshare
In my youth, I wasn't much of a reader the only true current history book I remember was political candidate, Wendel Wilkies,, "One World." I do wonder if it my own naïveté, are being isolated on military bases are controlled the press that gave us a little information or was it ignored by us that we knew so little about our treatment of the Japanese and the horrors being perpetuated on Jewish people in all of Europe. Thanks for bringing Popper's book to my attention. I really don't think the times of WWII were darker than the present.
Depending on how hard the government fights, it might take as little as three or four months or as much as three or four years.
It had very much to do with the last word of your question.
That's the magic sauce. Sounds like you've got some happy Hummingbirds.
Your work with Guillermo del Toro has been some of the most fun stuff I've seen on screen. Will you be working with him again, & what is your favorite memory of working with him in the past?
I've noticed that sometimes if a feeder is left out too long, it begins to develop mold. Is this mold harmful to hummingbirds? I don't keep a feeder, this was from a time when I house-sat for friends.
I hope I will be working with him again. Not my call his... BTW, before I forget, make sure you see his film called Shape of Water. It is an unqualified masterpiece. He is the most fun being on set of anyone I've had the pleasure of working with. He has the brilliance of Einstein and the sense of humor of Curly on the Three stooges. What could possibly go wrong?
So yes mold is not a good sign, also Hummingbirds will no longer visit the feeder after a day or two if you don't switch out the sugar water. They don't enjoy cloudy looking sugar water, I know quite picky of them.
As a fellow San Antonian, how is the city different now from when you grew up? Is there anything being built that everyone just simpky knoes now as being there?
Will this accomplish anything or just mark it visible?
Does the red dye in the store-bought stuff actually make them sick?
I love to visit it, because except for the addition of so many suburbs and the expressway cutting through the city, it remains the same to me. I don't think anything surpasses its reputation for the river, even the Alamo, the missions or one of my favorites, the King William section.
Step 1 in addressing the problem of using bots to fraudulently hijack the commenting process is to expose the extent of the problem.
It does, it's been shown to create bill rot, then leaving the birds unable to feed.
Are you serious about your bid for the presidency in 2020?
My mamaw has a ton of hummingbirds visiting her feeders lately, should she swap over to sugar water instead of the premade mix for their health? Also, I saw someone mention using 1:4 raw sugar mixture, is there anything else that to add to this mixture to help get them some extra nutrients?
That is the secret the 1/4 mixture. Is she using stuff that has red dye in it? If so it's probably not healthy for them
How much does it cost per month to maintain that level of effortless cool?
what is your favourite hummingbird?
The Black-crested Coquette https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/blccoq1/overview
What's your favorite beer? Different beers for different situations? Cheers and hope you're enjoying a cigar during this AMA!
Is there anything in particular that you like about them? (Other than the adorable black crest?)
I'm not a beer drinker but ask me anything you want to about Vodka or Tequila.
They're just a beautiful species that doesn't often get encountered.
Hi Ron, first of all, I'd like to say that you are a big part of my childhood. But I'd like to know, during the shooting of "cronos" , what did you thought about guillermo del Toro the first time you met him ?
Thanks for doing this. Your photos of the hummies are awesome. What's your other favourite bird /animal?
After five minutes it felt like we'd known each other for ten years. After a half an hour it felt like we'd known each other 30...
Probably a Curl-crested Aracari
Car guy here - what is your favorite car in your garage?
Do you have a favorite photo you took yourself of one of these?
I only have one and it's a Tesla and it's the only car i will drive for the rest of my life.
Black Crested Coquette https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/blccoq1/overview
Hi, Ron! Loved your memoir, "Easy Street: The Hard Way." Any plans for future books?
Are you an expert in Bird Law by any chance?
I had an idea for my next book but I can't remember what it is, if anyone can remember please contact me at @perlmutations. It ain't easy getting old.
I am, but can't practice in Philadelphia.
Is it legal to own a hummingbird in the United States?
I tried but a couple of armed guards at warner brothers stopped me as I got to my car.
It is not, very illegal
Something I don't think people working in politics or advocacy get asked enough, and rarely if ever answer honestly:
Are you able to name a specific opinion you've previously held related to FCC regulations or related to privacy, about which you have later changed your mind?
If not, do you think that it is rational for people to trust an advocate who is thinking so shallowly about his area of expertise that he never finds he's been wrong about anything?
I don't intend that as an attack, although I realize it might sound harsh. I agree that net neutrality is important, but just as you guys can't be right 100% of the time, Ajit Pai can't be wrong 100% of the time.
My birthday is friday can I get a shout out from one of my favorite actors of all time?
Well I mean in the wild that's encouraged. The males need to be fond of the females
Hello, thanks for fighting againt net neutrality.
Can you please tell us more of the transparency cases? Like, maybe a list of them? Thanks for doing an ama.
What's your favourite brand of cigar my man ?
Dude... why do the hummingbirds at my folks house attack me? They dive bomb my ears and are so brave!
A partial list is on our website, www.loevy.com/foia. But we've done many more.
Yes could be the color of the clothing you're wearing or you might have been near their nest, they tend to be quite brave.
Huge SoA fan, like most people. So here are a couple SoA questions...
What was your favorite scene to shoot? Why?
What was your least favorite scene to shoot? Why?
According to Aztec mythology, warriors who served the sun god Huizilopochtli turn into hummingbirds when they die.
How do you think an Aztec warrior would react to the work you do?
my favorites scenes were the ones in the chapel with the boys. That was quintessential sons of anarchy stuff.
Well, I'm hoping they'd make me their leader since I'm a friend to the Hummingbirds. Hopefully, there is some sort of crown I'd get.
Hi Ron! Thanks for doing the AMA.
A personal favorite movie of mine is Drive, and loved your role especially. What was it like playing Nino, and how was it working alongside Ryan Gosling and Winding Refn? Cheers.
We live in southern Michigan, and we just started getting hummingbirds this year since we bought a feeder. We absolutely love them. When I was a kid in elementary school, a teacher once told us about a story where they found a hummingbird that had rammed its beak into the chest of a fox, killing them both. Have you ever heard of anything like that happening? Would they or could they ever attack a human or a small animal? They are cute but man are they aggressive and territorial when tested.
Here's a picture I took of one this year in the back yard, for fun. :)
Top draw experience. Everyone talks about what a great actor he is but no one will ever know what a great guy he is. And Refn is a talent like no other and I'll let you decide what I mean by that, heh, heh, heh.
Awesome picture! love the contrast.
I think that might be a bit of an old wives tale. I have seen Hummingbirds empale each other, well I've seen a specimen of it, but never a larger animal. They are for sure aggresive though, their aerial battles with one another are something to see.
What is a project that you missed out on working on that you wish you had worked on?
Thank you for this AMA!! Do the flowers that hummingbirds feed from affect the color of the feathers? Also, I had once snapped a photo of one and in the picture, the wings were up, but the shadow of the wing was pointed down on the wall behind it. Do you often have this happen in your photos? Obviously shutter speed was a factor, I just thought it was a neat occurrence.
There are none. And I repeat, I'm so bad Cable should be playing me. I'm a bad man.
The flowers they eat do not affect their coloration, Hummingbird feather color is all based on structure, so it's light reflecting off of the feathers. It sounds like the wings were beating so fast the shutter caught the backswing, that's pretty neat.
Dude, you want to run for president? How do you plan to change this country? Answer this question and you can guarantee my vote.
I recently moved to Louisiana and I have the biggest crate myrtle I've ever seen in my back yard and it was swarming with humming birds until recently. I would love for them to come back and get closer to me next year.
What are the best things to do to get a healthy population of humming birds in my back yard next season?
First of all, we need to redesign our exceptionalism, becoming an example for the world of generosity and humanitarianism. Second of all we need to act like a country that has been blessed with great bounty and give a leg up to anyone who wants to or needs assistance in living the American dream. And thirdly, we need to live up to the aspirations of the founding fathers who used language like, Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and all men are created equal regardless of color, creed, nationality or background. There are many more things I'd like to say, but more importantly I'd like to live long enough to implement these things and more. The word I was looking for earlier was called stewardship and if we blow that there is nothing else.
If you were to plant a variety of native flowers that will bloom, in Spring, Summer, and Fall, you can create a year-long feeding source for them. Supplement that with a couple of feeders in the flower beds, and you have a Hummingbird all you can eat buffet.
You've been one of my favorite people since the first time I heard you say "war never changes" when I was 12. My question has to do with Quest for Fire: what were the challenges faced tackling such a unique role, and did you do anything specific to get into the mindset of expressing thoughts physically?
Bonus question on In the Name of the Rose: WHAT DOES SEAN CONNERY SMELL LIKE? I'm...asking for a friend.
Bees have started to swarm the hummingbird feeders and scaring away the little guys. What can I do to prevent bees from taking their feeding spot?
Quest of Fire was the hardest movie I've physically done... barefoot in freezing temperatures... We shot over 400 locations over the course of a year in uncompromising conditions.
Sean Connery curiously smells like burnt toast, or am I having a stroke?
They do sell feeders that have bee guards on them, how often are you changing out the sugar water ?
Hi Ron!! You mentioned recently that you tend to gain 35 pounds between jobs. What do you do to shed the pounds?
So glad for this AMA! How often should the water be changed? What else can we do in the midwest to help? (Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky)
I would say you should try and change it every 2-3 Days, depending on how many you have visiting. They tend to not feed once the water becomes cloudy.
This is going to sound rude, but I think it's the easiest way for me to say it so I hope you understand what I mean, why should I care about hummingbirds?
What are you cooking? I don't eat just anything, you know....
Well, the argument can always be made, why care about any other species but ourselves. With a species like Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the only species found on the east coast, it's an important pollinator. Creating growth of native species of flowers, that play a role in the pollination availability for bees. Those bees that pollinate our crops, so if you were to not care and eliminate Hummingbirds they could negatively affect, our food industry, only one example.
Did anything ever come of you fighting Alex Jones.. Where did that leave off? Can we pick that up again?
Thanks! I really wasn't trying to troll I knew you'd have a great answer for this, and I hadn't seen it asked so I went for it. I like to ask people the "jerk" questions as they often provide the best information. Source: I once asked a particularly clever math teacher why I should care about math, was quickly put in my place.Had a new respect for him and math after that.
I'm right here muthafucka! I will say this, 26 little kids got slaughtered in a school in Connecticut and he called it a left wing publicity stunt. If he likes, I'll show him what 26 whoopings look like.
Glad you asked, somebody's gotta do it.
Favourite person to work with on SoA?? Love your work!!
Hi! I'm also a hummingbird biologist, and this is a great (not rude) question! Justifying what we research is something that every scientist should think about and be able to say.
I'd just like to add a few less tangible points. Maybe they will resonate with some people, maybe not. /u/gourmetbiologist has already pointed out the potential economic impact of hummingbird conservation, BUT there's also...
Taxonomic importance: The hummingbird group is unique to the New World. It is also incredibly diverse, the 2nd most diverse bird taxon, at ~330-340 species. Most of that biodiversity is in South America (especially Ecuador), but even the comparative handful of species we have the US represent a truly unique product of evolution.
Research and Development: Hummingbirds are super unique in their flight and metabolic physiology. Some truly extraordinary research is being done into their flight mechanics that could influence future human flight technology (look into the work of Doug Altshuler) and their diet of sugar-rich resources has implications for diabetes research (see Hargrove 2005).
Conservation and connection to wildlife: This is a bit more of a personal anecdote, but after studying hummingbirds for a while now I've found that their potential for "flagship" species, so to speak, for connecting wildlife to everyday normal people is huge. Many, many people love hummingbirds, and connecting those birds to patterns and processes in nature can really expand a person's appreciation for wildlife. People get SO INTO seeing hummingbirds up close when I am banding them, and it's such a great opportunity to connect with people and discuss issues both relating to hummingbirds, or to conservation at a broader scale. That connection, sitting on a porch next to a feeder surrounded by the public, is just something you can't replicate if you're studying a more iconic conservation animal like large mammals.
Love the 3 one, I think that is where I try to make my greatest strides as well, thus my reason for using the social media monster to communicate with a much more general audience about science and conservation. Hummingbirds seem to resonate with people, so drawing them in and then talking about conversation issues, is something I strive for as well. Thanks for the extra gusto to my response.
I drew a caricature of you and Coates and years later you shared it on social media and made an effort to make sure that I was given credit for it. Thank you for that. I have much respect for you and am a big fan of your work and this is a stupid question, but I've always wondered: Do you remember where you saw it, initially?
The drawing in question
What's your go-to trivia when it comes to bird and humminbird?
If the caricature is what I think it is, fantastic work. I was obsessed with finding out out with who you were ... and I believe I initially saw it on instagram.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds weigh less than a penny.
I, too, am a budding conservationist striving for a career doing research (currently undergoing my masters). Having been to the Peruvian Amazon where I collected data on butterfly species for my undergraduate thesis, I'm particularly interested in birds, especially those of the neotropics. Your Instagram page is wonderful and your pictures are very inspiring
How did you get involved with working with neotropic migrants, as this is an ambition of mine?
I got involved working with Neotropical migrants, through the Institue for Bird Populations. They have a long-running program of doing research on-site fidelity sites throughout central and South America. I've been co-running stations in Costa Rica where we net them and look at their long-term site fidelity and habitat usage.
How did you feel about doing the voice-overs for the Fallout games?
Do you take on interns at any of the stations? I would love to get involved and gain orthnithology-related experience when I finish my masters in February
I actually have internship opportunity going right now.
Hello Mr. Perlman!
Loved your work in SoA. You did a fantastic job of being a scumbag. It's obvious you are very talented.
I also follow you on Facebook and love how no nonsense you are.
My question is: what can piss you off almost instantly? I only ask this 'cause being angry seems natural for you! Not that that's a bad thing, of course. :)
Perlman 2020! Vote smarter, muthafuckers!
How do you get such detailed picture of hummingbirds...are they in the lab/wild, camera traps, etc? You're pictures are incredible! Also..is there a video/audio link or is this all just text Q and A?
Well, a lot of things piss me off, bullying, taking advantage of ones station because one feels superior, injustice of any kind, racism, in short, every single fucking quality our president possesses, and I use the world "quality" advisedly.
They are all wild individuals, I use a variety of Macro lenses.
Only text Q and A, sorry about that
How much does it cost for you to show up at like birthdays and such?
How many humming birds would it take to carry a one pound coconut across the English Channel?
So species range from the 3 to 11-gram range, so I'll let you do the math.
What's uuuup? I'd love to know your favorite things you've taken home from sets...?? :-)
For a long time I thought hummingbirds are native to warmer climates, but recently I've seen some at my grandparents house (tons of flowers) and wasn't sure at first if they really are hummingbirds.
Do you have any ideas what species live in my area? This was happening in Piatra Neamț, România. It's near the mountains and above the 45th parallel.
Thank you :D
The silver teeth from Enemy at the Gates, the sticks that I wore in the back of my head for the Quest of Fire and the gavel from Sons of Anarchy.
I'm gonna guess it might be a species of moth. Hummingbirds are only found in the Americas.
Any chance of working with George R.R Martin again? I always hoped you would appear in Game of Thrones at some point.
In classic "google it" fashion, you were right. It's a moth, Macroglossum stellatarum to be more exact. If not for your AmA I would've never bothered to Google this. Thanks :D
I feel like the only reason I haven't appeared in GOT is because I've always been doing another show while they've been filming. I think George and I would love to work together again.
I was figuring there had to be, there are a few moth species here in North America, that sure can trick an observer.
Just wanted to say I love you in literally anything!
What's your favourite swear or insult?
How can I become a Hummingbird expert?
My favorite swear or insult? I'm a big fan of "Eat Me". My favorite word is muthafucka... and there's a lot of words that have to be removed due to political correctness but I'll let you use your imagination to figure out what they are.
Read a lot of books on Hummingbirds, then ask them very nicely. I've spent a lot of time working in the field, I've researched in one way or another 40 species of Hummingbirds now. I try to use my photography to teach people unique things about them. I think all of that combined makes me somewhat of an expert. We have a general meeting every five years or so to look at requests for Hummingbird Expertise badges if you'd like to submit in that time.
Hey there, thanks for doing this AMA.
I myself am very interested in maybe pursuing a sort of biology-related career, and wanted to ask:
1.) What kind of school did you go through to become a hummingbird biologist?
2.) Do you enjoy what you do for your job?
3.) Is there anything you'd want to tell someone that's thinking of going into any sort of biology field of work?
I was an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major.
I love what I do.
I think that we need to encourage more people to go into this field. I hear a lot of people telling people don't do it, there isn't enough money, it's going to be hard. It is going to be hard, and if you want to rise to the head of the pack you'll need to put in a lot of effort, it's not a 9-5 five days a week job, you need to go home and think about it a lot. I think that its a job that truly needs to be your passion and hobby to excel in it.
Love you on Twitter sir!! My favorite movie of yours, despite there being so many choices, is still The Name of the Rose. Any particularly cool memories of making that one? Keep doing what you're doing man!
What plants or flowers can I plant in Missouri to attract hummingbirds?
Lot of cool memories on that one, including working with great Sean Connery, the great Jean-Jacques Annaud and so many others. That was a role I really had to fight for. It was given to two other people before me. One who died and one who was fired.
Cardinal flower, Burgemont, there are a number of vine species. If you go to National Audubon native flower database, they can give you some specifics. Especially for that area, I'm a northeast coast guy in the planting advice category, sorry.
I loved hearing you on I Am Rapaport... have you ever thought of having a podcast of your own?
My mother-in-law loves hummingbirds and recently heard that if you leave feeders out too late in the season, the hummingbirds will stick around too long and not migrate when they are supposed to. Is there any truth to this?
I think this is a bit of a mystery still to be honest. A fit bird will realize it's time to migrate. I believe some of these lingering birds, might not be the fittest birds in terms of survival. I think there are still some unanswered questions on this topic.
Are you actually fluent in French? I remember seeing you for the first time in the movie City of Lost Children. I've been in love with you ever since, and I was curious in that movie if you actually just learned the few lines and were able to make it through, or if you actually understood all that was being said.
You went to school with Unidan??
I am not fluent in french... I learned my role and new what I was saying at the time but don't ask me what it meant now.
Yup, we did.
What are your feelings on the protests among NFL players in response to police brutality?
I found an injured hummingbird yesterday and have been trying to nurse it back to health. I have contacted a wildlife rehabilitator and am still waiting to hear back from him. In the meantime, what is the legality of keeping the hummingbird if she is too injured to make it in the wild again?
First amendment rights baby! Our constitution is what we've been fighting for for 241 years. And free speech isn't just any amendment, it's the first.
Since you have been actively trying to get in contact with a rehabber for to transfer the bird, you are in the legal right. You can act as an intermediate until a rehabber is able to step in.
I absolutely love your photos, and have wanted to do what you did since I was a kid. How do you fund your field studies? Private/public grants? US-based, or international groups?
At the moment, the Nature Center near me has just folded, and while the Township is up for purchasing the property in order to continue its mission, the buildings are in a bad state, and need to be repaired. I'm trying to figure out how to find enough grants to repair the old barn and get it running again. Any tips on grant writing for this sort of effort?
Uh yeah I give a fuck a lot of things. I give a fuck about my family first and foremost. 2nd and foremost I give a fuck about the country my children get to inherit. And the world there is to inherit if there is one.
Some of it is private and public grants. Companies investing. Fundraising. It all depends.
I would say maybe a community outreach campaign, DM and maybe I can help more if you can give me some background information.
Hi there, and thanks for doing this AMA. I have been fascinated by Hummingbirds and am very excited to hear your insights. My question is, how do you think climate change and this year's storm seasons are affecting the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds?
I like my deaths like my children... all of them equally!
I do think it could be playing a role in it, I think with everything with bird migration there are a lot of contributing factors. Some of the birds that are not as well prepared or fit might have a tougher time finding stopover sites to feed at this year. They use the same routes every year and might find that some of their gas stations are no longer in service. I'm going to be very intrigued to see what the numbers are like once I get to Costa Rica.
Hi Ron what's your favorite movie to sit down and watch?
Hey Boss! Is it true with hummingbird species that you should put out double feeders so they don't impale each other? I think I read that in a field guide but I could have also pulled it out of my tuchus.
I have so many favorites depending on my mood. My #1 show of all time is The Godfather Part 1 - after that I ask myself am in a Paul Newman mood? Am I in a Humphrey Bogart mood? Am I in a James Cagney mood? Am I in a Cary Grant mood? etc. etc.
Well putting out two or more feeders will decrease the chance an individual can dominate the feeder, and increase the number of Hummingbirds visiting. I would be very shocked to see males impaling one another, I know it's been documented, but it's rare. They do have very impressive aerial battler, I tend to see a lot of very tiny karate kicks.
Hey Ron, big fan here! My dad told me he used to work with you at a corner store in Queens in his youth. What was that like?
I'm going to Costa Rica in two weeks where are some good spots to see hummingbirds?
The only time I've ever been to Queens is when I've gone to the airport. Tell your dad it's not nice to lie to kids!
Monteverde is a great spot, the Quetzal lodge is another incredible location.
How do you think the current White House administration will end?
Do you use or plan to use camera traps to monitor flowers for pollinator species such as hummingbirds? Curious to know if or how remote cameras play into your research.
In chains. I've never seen so much abuse of Law in my entire lifetime.
I do, hopefully, I'll have a lot to talk about in the category after this upcoming field season. But yes ill be monitoring an endangered population like this for a few months this year.
I was given the unique oppurtunity to go on a tropical research-based trip in High School to Panama, I never looked back.
So I used to put red dye in my hummingbird feeder with water and sugar to help attract more of them, but I read that the red dye actually causes blindness in the next generation, but also read that this was false and had no actual research to back it up. Basically, am I at all harming the birds by using red dye or should I just not use it at all? Thank you so much!!
So the red-dye has also been attributed to bill rot. Which has been proven, so I would recommend not using it
In the NYT there is a science article (from the past week) about preying mantis feeding on hummingbirds, attacking at bird feeders. I was wondering if you had any additional info or context to this predator / prey relationship that i, for one, found surprising? Do hummingbirds have any other predators we may be surprised to learn about?
It does happen and its usually by invasive mantid species. So it's an introduced species that had learned about this food source in a very short span of time. Meaning we better watch out for the Preying Mantis uprise.
What type of equipment are you sporting to take these close-up shots (for all of the camera enthusiasts out there)?
So I'm a Canon guy. My body line-up right now is Canon 7d mark II, 5d Mark III, and 1d Mark IV. For lenses I use the Canon 100mm IS 2.8L, 65MM 1-5x MPE, and 70-200 2.8 IS L II