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Trinity Standard - Local News

Copyright 2017 - Polk County Publishing Company

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Andrea Thrasher
Trinity Standard -

 

By Julia McMichael

My friend, Andrea Thrasher, is a hummingbird enthusiast. She has been feeding "hummers" and watching them for many years. She started watching these birds in Houston, without much success, and then moved to Trinity, and hit the jackpot. She became devoted to them and has been on their migration path to and from Mexico for the past five years. Andrea lives in the Westwood Shores sub-division at 76 Broadmoor and invites anyone to come and watch these amazing birds in the early springtime or late summer at her home. (BYOB) Andrea is the Director of Operations at the Boys and Girls Club of Trinity. Before she goes to work and the minute she comes home from work, she tends to her feeders, making sure they are clean, filled with sugar water and up high enough to ward off predators. For years Andrea has attended the Rockport Hummingbird Festival in Rockport, Texas to learn more about these birds, but sad to say, most of Rockport has been destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. Thousands of the Rubythroated Hummingbirds pass through Rockport on the way to Mexico, and people come from all over the state to watch them. Activities and Trails are setup for this event that lasts four days. Trails for out of town visitors and local families to sit together and watch these birds for hours while enjoying drinks and refreshments. Hopefully, this festival can be restored next year and in the future. Andrea has over 39 Hummingbird feeders that she fills with sugar water twice a day. She uses about 4 pounds of sugar a day. The Birds eat approximately every fifteen minutes and then fly up into the trees overhead to take a break until the next feeding frenzy. In addition to flower nectar and sugar water (sucrose), they eat gnats and other bugs for protein. They continue feeding until dark, when they perch up high where they rest in a semicomatose state, called torpor. Then at dawn it starts all over again. Not only does she tend to their sucrose need, but she makes sure they have plenty of flower nectar with a beautiful assortment of flowers, plants, herbs, flowering bushes and trees, red in color, growing in the front of her house and kitchen window. Andrea has as many as 100 Hummingbirds at one time during a migration wave or as little as 20-40 birds. The Rubythroated species of Hummingbirds migrate from Mexico to Canada to have their babies and then return to Mexico for the winter. The weather conditions tell the "hummer" when to leave the area, and Andrea's home is always a favorite stop on their way to Mexico. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are one of the eight regular species found in the United States. Andrea has watched her group so long, she can tell the females from the males, by their throats of course, but also by their tail shape, and the spotted scratching on the throat of the immature males who do not have the ruby red throats yet. The female hummingbird does not ever have the Ruby-throat, only scratches, and has a fan tail instead of a split tail like the male birds. The female lays her eggs in Alaska or Canada and tends to her babies after they are born until they fledge. Then, they are on their own to eat and migrate back to Mexico for the next winter. Andrea is very involved in our community not only with the Boys and Girls of Trinity but also with the Trinity Lions Club, SAAFE House, and other events, but still, manages to take care of her "hummers." Andrea is very knowledgeable about these birds. If you would like to find out more about how to start your feeders and bird watching, please call Andrea at 936-594-0778. In addition to Andrea's menagerie of hummingbirds, she has flying squirrels, five raccoons, deer and monarch butterflies along with other un-invited critters to contend with in her yard, but she does a great job with feeding and protecting her birds. Andrea says they give her great peace and tranquility. Thank God for people like her.

 

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