9 of the world’s smallest birds

goldcrest

The goldcrest is the smallest European bird with a wingspan of only 5-6 inches. Yet it still isn’t the smallest bird out there. (Photo: Francis C. Franklin/Wikipedia)

The birds that get all the attention are usually the flashiest, like the birds of paradise,or the toughest, like hawks and eagles. And owls seem to be a universal favorite. But what about the itty bitty birds, so small you almost think you imagined them when they flit by? These tiny species deserve a little attention too. Meet some of the world’s smallest bird species!

Red-cheeked cordon-bleu

red-cheeked cordon-bleu

Photo: Dave Montreuil/Shutterstock

This colorful bird is a species of African finch with sky blue feathers and males have a spot of red on their cheeks that make them look like they are perpetually blushing. Individuals only grow to be about five inches in length, and weighs only about .35 ounces on average. That’s roughly the weight of just three pennies! This species can be found in the wild in central and eastern Africa but is also one of the most popular exotic finch species in the pet trade.

Verdin

verdin bird

Photo: John L. Absher/Shutterstock

With the verdin, we move from blue to yellow, and from Africa to the southwest United States and Mexico. This small bird is a species of penduline tit, and is only about 4.5 inches long when fully grown. It is second only to the 4.3-inch long American bushtit as the smallest of the passerines on the continent. The verdin can be spotted foraging insects among desert scrub plants, or snagging a little dried sugar from hummingbird feeders every once in awhile.

Lesser goldfinch

lesser goldfinch

Photo: Steve Byland/Shutterstock

The lesser goldfinch is the smallest North American finch of the Spinus genus, and it may very well be the smallest true finch in the entire world, growing to just 3.5 to 4.7 inches in length on average. The Andean siskin may beat it by a feather for the title, though, as it comes in at an average of 3.7 to 4.3 inches in length. Still, the goldfinch is truly miniscule. It weighs only around 0.28 to 0.41 ounces.

Goldcrest

goldcrest

Photo: OiseauxvendeeWikipedia

Who says you have to be big to be king? The goldcrest’s scientific name is Regulus regulus, and regulus means“prince, little king”. This species is in the kinglet family, and is the smallest of all the birds in Europe. It measures only about 3.3–3.7 inches in length, and weights a miniscule 0.16–0.25 ounces. The species may be small but it is mighty and doesn’t mess around when it comes to raising young. As many as 10-12 eggs will be incubated at once, and sometimes a female will have two broods a season! Populating the kingdom is clearly a priority for this little bird.  

goldcrest

Photo: Mark Medcalf/Shutterstock

Bee Hummingbird

bee hummingbird

Photo: 44kmos/Shutterstock

The goldcrest may be the smallest bird in Europe but the smallest bird in the world is the bee hummingbird. It is only 2-2.4 inches long (barely larger than a bee, hence its name) and weights a light 0.056–0.071 ounces. That’s less than the weight of a single penny. They make nests of cobwebs and lichen where they incubate eggs no bigger than peas. The bee hummingbird is native to Cuba and is only rarely spotted on other nearby islands. Though it is a tiny miracle among birds, it is listed as near threatened due to habitat loss as forests are converted to farmland. The species is in need of conservation efforts to improve population numbers.

Willow tit

willow tit

Photo: Francis C. Franklin/Wikipedia

Despite it’s small size, the willow tit likes cold weather. It is found in sub-arctic Europe and northern Asia. It is a diminutive 4.5 inches long on average, and a weight of 0.31-0.38 ounces, which is about the same size as its neighbor the marsh tit. In fact, they look almost exactly alike as well. However, as soon as they open their mouths, a birder can tell them apart as the two have very different vocalizations.

Spotted pardalote

spotted pardalote

Photo: JJ Harrison/Wikipedia

This species is small but flashy, with plumage of amazing colors and patterns. The white spots can be somewhat to credit for its nickname, the diamondbird. Found in eastern and southern Australia in eucalyptus forests, it is one of the continent’s smallest bird species at only 3.1-3.9 inches in length. Sadly, this beautiful bird species is facing a decline due to habitat loss to clearing of it’s preferred forest habitat for human uses such as sheep-grazing or urban development.

Weebill

weebill

Photo: Tom Tarrant/Wikipedia

This species has a wee bill (which is the source of it’s name) and a wee body to match! The weebill only grows to be about 3-3.5 inches long, and it beats out the spotted pardalote as Australia’s smallest bird species. This small bird species travels in small flocks and lives in most any wooded area, though they love eucalyptus forests the most.

Costa’s hummingbird

costas hummingbird

Photo: Alan D. Wilson/Wikipedia

We couldn’t end this without taking another look at adorably tiny hummingbirds. The Costa’s hummingbird is native to North America’s southwest and it flourishes in the desert setting. It grows to only 3-3.5 inches long, weighs only 0.1 ounces on average, and is one of the smaller hummingbird species. The male has a brilliant purple plumage across its head, and is a flashy little jewel among all the tan and beige of the desert.

Continue reading 9 of the world’s smallest birds

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Why is Marijuana Banned?

 The Real Reasons Are Worse Than You Think

Across the world, increasingly more individuals are asking: Why is marijuana banned? Why are people still sent to prison for using or selling it?
The majority of us assume it’s because somebody, someplace sat down with the clinical evidence, and found out that marijuana is more harmful than other drugs we use all the time– like alcohol and cigarettes.
Someone worked it all out, for our benefit.
But when I started to go through the official archives to learn why marijuana was prohibited back in the 1930s, I found that’s not what took place.
Not at all.
In 1929, a man called Harry Anslinger was put in charge of the Department of Prohibition in Washington DC. However alcohol prohibition must been a catastrophe. Gangsters had taken over whole areas. Alcohol– controlled by crooks– had actually become much more toxic.
So alcohol prohibition swiftly ended– and Harry Anslinger hesitated. He discovered himself in charge of a big federal government department, with absolutely nothing for it to do. Up till then, he must have stated that cannabis was not a problem. It does not harm individuals, he described, and “there is no more absurd fallacy” than the concept it makes people violent.
But then– suddenly, when his department needed a new function– he revealed he had actually altered his mind.
He explained to the public which would happen if you smoked cannabis.
Initially, you will fall under “a delirious rage.” Then you will be grasped by “dreams … of a sexual character.” Then you will “lose the power of connected thought.” Lastly, you will reach the inescapable end-point: “Insanity.”.
Marijuana turns male into a wild beast. If marijuana bumped into Frankenstein’s monster on the stairs, Anslinger cautioned, the monster would drop dead of shock.
Harry Anslinger ended up being consumed with one case in certain. In Florida, a boy called Victor Lacata hacked his family to death with an axe. Anslinger stated to America: This is exactly what will happen when you smoke “the devil weed.” The case became well-known. The moms and dads of the US were frightened.
What proof did Harry Anslinger have? It ends up at this time he wrote to the 30 leading scientists on this subject, asking if marijuana was a threat, and if there must be a ban.
Twenty-nine wrote back and said this was not the case.
Anslinger selected the one scientist who stated yes, and presented him to the world. Journalism– obsessed with Victor Lacata’s axe– cheered them on.
In a panic that grasped America, marijuana was prohibited. The United States informed other nations they needed to do the exact same. Many nations said it was a dumb idea, and chose not to do it. For instance, Mexico decided their drug policy need to be run by doctors. Their medical guidance was that cannabis didn’t trigger these problems, and they chose not to ban it. The US was furious. Anslinger made them to fall into line. The Mexicans held out– till, in the end, the United States cut off the supply of all legal painkillers to Mexico. People began to pass away in agony in their medical facilities. So with regret, Mexico fired the medical professional– and released its own drug war.
However at home, concerns were being asked. A leading American medical professional called Michael Ball wrote to Harry Anslinger, puzzled. He discussed how he had used marijuana as a medical trainee, and it had actually just made him drowsy. Possibly cannabis does drive a little number of people crazy, he stated– however we need to fund some clinical studies to learn.
Anslinger wrote back firmly. “The marijuana evil can no longer be temporized with,” he explained, and he would fund no independent science. Then, or ever.
For several years, doctors kept approaching him with proof he was incorrect, and he began to snap, telling them they were “treading on harmful ground” and they need to watch their mouths.
Today, most of the world is still dealing with the restriction on marijuana that Harry Anslinger created, in the nation-wide panic that followed Victor Lacata’s killing spree.
However here’s the catch. Years later, someone went and took a look at the psychiatric report for Victor Lacata.
It turns out there’s no proof he ever used cannabis.
He had a lot of mental disorders reported in his family. They must been told a year prior to he had to be institutionalized– however they declined. His psychiatrists never even mentioned marijuana in connection to him.
So, does marijuana make individuals mad?
The former chief consultant on drugs to the British federal government, David Nutt, describes– if cannabis causes psychosis in a simple method, then it would display in a straightforward method.
When marijuana use increases, psychosis will increase. And when marijuana usage decreases psychosis will go down.
So does that take place? We have a lot of data from a lot of nations. And it turns out it doesn’t. For example, in Britain, cannabis usage has actually increased by a factor of about 40 since the 1960s. And rates of psychosis? They remained constant.
In reality, the clinical proof suggests marijuana is much safer than alcohol. Alcohol kills 40,000 individuals every year in the United States. Marijuana kills no one– although Willie Nelson states a good friend of his did once pass away when a bale of marijuana fell on his head.
This is why, in 2006, a young man in Colorado called Mason Tvert released a challenge to the then-mayor of Denver and eventual governor, John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper owned brew-pubs offering alcohol throughout the state, and it made him rich. But he said marijuana was dangerous and needed to be banned. So Mason provided him a challenge– to a battle. You bring a dog crate of booze. I’ll bring a pack of joints. For every hit of booze you take, I’ll take a hit of marijuana. We’ll see who dies first.
It was the ultimate High noon.
Mason went on to lead the project to legislate cannabis in his state. His fellow citizens voted to do it– by 55 %. Now adults can purchase cannabis lawfully, in licensed stores, where they are taxed– and the money is utilized to build schools. After a year and a half of seeing this system in practice, public support for legalization has increased to 69 %. And even Guv Hickenlooper has actually begun calling it “common sense.”.
Oh– and Colorado hasn’t been filled with individuals hacking their households to death yet.
Isn’t it time we paid attention to the science– and lastly put away Victor Lacata’s axe?
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