Peter Hawrylyshyn will detail his experiences observing and photographing many of the over 150 colorful and unique Hummingbird species that inhabit these high peaks of South America in his program "Hummingbirds of the Northern Andes". Join Peter at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Sanibel Community House for the fifth presentation of the 2019 San-Cap Audubon lecture series.
 
With eye-popping names such as Ruby-Topaz, Emeralds, Sapphires, Pufflegs, and Woodnymphs, hummingbirds have frequently been called “Flying Jewels” because of their dazzling colors and amazing ability to fly in any direction. Hummingbirds also have one of the fastest rates of molecular evolution. Nowhere is this more evident than in the northern Andes where over 150 species evolved from a common ancestor over the past 10-15 million years. Peter will address how the geologic history and resultant ecosystems of the northern Andes have impacted the remarkable speciation of hummingbirds. He will illustrate their special evolutionary adaptations. This includes the importance of iridescence and bill shape, their interdependence/mutualism with plant flora, and the physiologic changes allowing them to thrive in harshest environments above 15,000 feet. Peter will also touch on the logistic realities of traveling in the region, reveal some of its best birding sites, and also give practical tips on how to photograph hummingbirds.
 
Peter Hawrylyshyn has been a long-time winter visitor to Sanibel. He has always had a love of the outdoors and birds. The advent of digital imaging allowed Peter to focus his interests on bird photography. For the past decade, a particular interest has been photographing and recording hummingbirds of the Americas. Based on over 15 trips and almost 6 months in South America, Peter recently published a book entitled “Hummingbirds of the Northern Andes” containing over 500 photos of 143 species. His award-winning work has appeared on BBC Nature and Cornell’s Living Bird and been published in numerous reference texts. He also hosts his own photo websites at https://www.pahphoto.com and https://www.flickr.com/photos/pahyyz/.
 
This is the fifth of nine Sanibel-Captiva Audubon lectures to be held in 2019 on Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. As always, all are welcome to attend. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and parking is available at the Community House as well as across Periwinkle Way in the Herb Strauss Theater parking area. A $10 donation per attendee is appreciated with proceeds after costs being used to promote conservation on Sanibel and in Florida. For additional information, call Bill Jacobson at (239) 395-1878 or visit the San-Cap Audubon Web site at www.san-capaudubon.org.