A hummingbird, a honeybee and a lady beetle walk into a bar.


Nature Notes

I sat on the deck and watched the yard’s critters on a late August evening. Psalms reminds me to be still and know. A field cricket, nearly as black as a crow, moved past. The sky over the yard filled with hunters. Dragonflies flew the lowest, then swallows and common nighthawks took the highest sky road. What brought these mighty Nimrods to my neck of the woods? In the Bible, Nimrod was a mighty hunter. They were feasting upon swarms of what I’ve heard referred to as flying plankton — ant swarms. 

A chipping sparrow weighs 11 - 16 grams. Items weighing approximately one gram include a regular paperclip, a dollar bill, a raisin or a thumbtack.

A hummingbird visited multiple flowers of jewelweed at a hectic pace, lapping up all the calories it could. I’ve read that when scaled to the size of a human, a hummingbird would need to take in 155,000 calories daily. 

Jewelweed or touch-me-not has juicy stems that when crushed may serve to relieve the itch of poison ivy and stinging nettle for some people. The fruits explode at the touch to eject the seeds in a distribution mode called ballistic dispersal.

Al Batt is a syndicated columnist. For questions or comments about this article, contact Al at


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