Friday, June 19, 2015

Product Review

Vortex Viper HD Binoculars 8x42

I recently got the Vortex Optics HD Viper 8x42 for my birthday and I thought I would review it.  First, what does the 8x42 mean? The first number means 8 times the magnification of the naked eye and the 42 is the diameter of the light gathering lens(the lens closer to the object) in millimeters.

The first thing, I noticed with these binoculars, is how much brighter everything was than with my older Nikon Action 10x50 binoculars.  The "HD" describes the image really well.  The eye piece and ocular lens or viewing lens is a lot bigger than my Nikon binoculars.  I think the lens technology has advanced since my last pair of binoculars.  It's amazing how well I can see even into darker areas of the woods where I struggled to see anything with my other binoculars.  This is a great pair to use early in the morning and right before sunset.  It did take some time to adjust to the larger eye piece.  I had to experiment with where to rest them on my eyes for the best view. You can also adjust the binocular barrels to fit your face and the diopter setting for your best individual viewing.    

The binoculars are about 6-1/2 inches in length with the eyecup screwed out for non glasses wearing viewers and about 6 inches when screwed in.  The compact size makes it easy to carry on birding trips and store when not in use.  The weight is also only about 2 pounds and it feels much lighter than my previous pair.  It comes with a padded strap for wearing around your neck or shoulder, which is very comfortable.

The four lens caps for the binoculars can all be attached or are already attached.  This feature is good for me, because I tend to misplace my caps and can never find them.  The binoculars comes with a nice padded case for  travel and storage.

Though these binoculars are pretty pricey(about $550-$650), I would recommend them.  They are everything a pair of binoculars should be. They perform great while being lightweight, compact and easy to use.  You can check out all the different models here.   Let us know what binoculars you like/use in the comments or if you would like to write a review of any of your gear email me here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bird of the Day

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The spring brings backs many amazing birds but the smallest might be the most amazing of them all.  The Ruby-throated Hummingbird travels thousands of miles north from Central America to it's summering grounds in most of Eastern North America.  The male has a striking green head and red "ruby" throat where it gets it's name.  The female is duller but still very beautiful.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeds mostly on nectar of flowers.  They use their long bill and tongue to drink the nectar from flowers or sugar water from feeders.  The hummingbird also needs protein in their diet. They get this from insects, spiders, aphids, and small caterpillars.  I have seen them in my yard hunting small flying insects around trees.

The most amazing skill of all for the Hummingbird is their precision flying.  They are able to move in any direction and hover in mid-air too.  The Ruby-throated Hummingbird beats it's small wings about 53 times a second.  This allows it to perform all these precision moves to feed, hunt and avoid predators.  

The males doesn't stick around long during the mating season.  Just long enough to court and then mate.  The female builds a thimble size nest mostly in trees for her brood of 1 or 2.

Fun Facts about the Ruby-throated Hummingbird

-Ruby-throated Hummingbird is in the Apodiformes order with the Swifts.
-Hummingbird's heart beats about 1260 times per minute.
-Ruby-throated Hummingbird has very good sight and can see into the ultraviolet spectrum.

Thanks to D3hockeyfan for the great shots of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  Share your experience with these amazing birds in the comments.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Bird Trivia Contest Winner

And the winner is...
Congratulations to Brian R(picked out of hat by my 4 year old son).  He is the winner of the first ever contest here at Backyard Bird Blog.  We will be doing contests periodically for different bird related prizes.  Thanks again for all that entered and all the great suggestions for what you want to see on the blog.  I will be using a lot of them in the future.  Thanks again for your support!  Email me here with any bird related pictures, stories, and groups that you would like to see highlighted on the site.