Friday, March 07, 2008

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

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Three hours after I hung my first hummingbird feeder on April 27, 2007, I had a visitor. I can’t describe the excitement I felt that day. They had already arrived about a month prior, so I was very late with my offering. I will not be late this year. They’ve been reported in south Georgia and Alabama this week, so they’re due here in about two weeks, barring complications with the weather.

For all of my non-birding friends who read this blog, this info is for YOU. Read on...

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During the next five months, my two feeders had wild activity. I remember the heat of the summer, the constant filling of the feeders with fresh nectar, and the joy it gave me. This year I’ll have three feeders (or more).


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Walking through squeaky hummingbirds of fifteen at a time, I sometimes had to duck to avoid their flight patterns.


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After a while, I understood what certain speedy dashes of flight meant. When aggressive and territorial, they buzzed in a horizontal U or would swing up and down like a pendulum to ward off intruders. None of this had to do with courtship or mating, I learned later.



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At the risk of sounding simple-mined, I can hardly comprehend their strength and instinct.



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In January and February, these tiny, power-packed avian creatures left the Yucatan one day at dusk, headed north for a five hundred mile journey across the Gulf of Mexico and landed somewhere between Texas and Florida...if nothing went awry. Their flight could have been twenty-two hours long, more or less. Is that wild, or what?


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They travel northward up to twenty miles a day and many of the adults return to the same feeders and nests they occupied the previous spring and summer.

More simple-mindedness…

Us adults are intelligent enough to help make the world go round. But why can’t I follow directions on MapQuest to an across-town destination without getting lost? Hmmmmpf.



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A slightly battered female stopped here for a re-fueling and rest on her journey south, taken on October 5, 2007. My last photo of the year.

I know they might be late arriving here this spring. But if they don’t show up at all, ya’ll will hear me cry and moan about the loss of my little green gems...

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I anticipate a break in blogging for a little while. Staring at a computer monitor all day at work and for a few hours at night is getting old and I need a little break. I’ll be outdoors in the evenings, enjoying the longer days and the beginning of Spring, instead. Maybe I’ll clean out some closets inside the house, too. Maybe I'll have some good post ideas and cook'em up! But if I find a Great Blue Heron standing in my pond tomorrow, you’ll hear about it!


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Enjoy the beginnings of Spring :o) (Ironically, I'm sitting here with a coat on, fireplace going, and it's chilly!)

43 comments:

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Oh, I get nearly breathless remembering the joy of watching them last year. I can't wait 'til they return. You won't have to wait much longer, lucky you!

Seabrooke said...

What great, warm-looking photos! Lucky you, to have them returning so soon! We have to wait till May...

Kathiesbirds said...

Mary, love the photos! I know what you mean about sitting in front of the computer all day! I have to make myself take a break to! Enjoy the coming springtime, though I'll miss hearing from you. I have a feeling you won't be gone for long though!

Q said...

Dear Mary,
A fun post. Ahhhh...remembering Hummers and they will be back to your gardens very soon.
I am looking forward to them as well. Will be another month here.
Enjoy Spring! We are having snow spits!
Sherry

Mel said...

Hummingbirds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I adore them! Beautiful pictures!
There's a couple of amazilia amazilia visiting us from time to time, if a third one gets in the way they start an agresive flight around each other, short distances but extremely fast.
It's always amazing to see them fly backwards.
Love this post, the hummingbird is one of my favourites!

Stacey Huston said...

Thanks for the pictures. Birds are such amazing little creatures. Their strength and ability to survive and florish is very inspiring. Such happiness! Stay warm :)

NatureWoman said...

Ohhh, the hummingbirds will be back, Mary! I love your photos, as always. Please enjoy your break, and I look forward to hearing about your adventures when you come back!

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Mary! Wonderful pictures. I wish I could get pictures of hummer's like that. I look forward to their arrival here, probably the end of May. I find them comical to watch. Lisa

beckie said...

Don't stay away too long Mary. I always enjoy your posts so much. The pics are fabulous! I'm sure it is very tricky to photo them. Enjoy spring!!

Beth said...

I'll miss your posts and pictures, but enjoy the spring and come back refreshed. Those hummingbird pictures were beautiful, I will put up feeders this year.

nina said...

Not simple-minded at all, Mary.

You can only appreciate those most beautiful beings by being in awe of them--and truly understanding their accomplishment. They're only mind-boggling to those who know thwm and eagerly await their safe return.

JeanMac said...

Understand that Mary - but I'll miss your pics and posts. We put our HB feeders out mid-April. the huge cedar in out back yd are just full of hummers come spring.

RuthieJ said...

Gosh Mare, I'd love to have 15 hummingbirds buzzing around me. I get excited when 3 come at the same time. I know your hummers will be back right on schedule!
Enjoy your hiatus, I'll look forward to your return and pictures/stories of spring from your neck of the woods.

mon@rch said...

Mary, for a second I thought just maybe you had them at your house already! 2 weeks away . . . So how I wish I was you right now! Amazing photos and I am more than sure you will be sneaking in some peaks from time to time! We will miss you and will wait for your next post!

Anonymous said...

I love hummingbirds! Thanks for sharing those beautiful photos. I have a blue heron here that hangs out at our pond almost every day. He is gorgeous.

I work on a computer all day myself so I totally understand needing a break. Enjoy yours!

Angie

KGMom said...

Wonderful photos of hummers. I am so envious--I do believe you live in bird heaven.
Hummingbirds are truly amazing, so tiny, so strong.
Enjoy your break--come back with loads of stories.

Susan Gets Native said...

Simple-minded? Ah don't THINK SO!@

You should check out Sherri Williamsons' blog...and for the life of me, I can't remember it. oh. it's
http://bisbeebirders.blogspot.com/
Do you go the www.hummingbirds.net? A big map of where the little buggers are right now.
Simple-minded is me. Ambien really works if you need to sleep.

Island Rambles Blog said...

Well I hope you are not leaving us...I know you will find an exciting bird or two for us..it is good to take a break and get refreshed ...I understand. We have a hummer nesting outback. Your pictures are better than mine.Take care Mary.

Pete said...

i envy you the hummers!! never seen one never will!

Jayne said...

I usually put my feeders up on April 1, but since they are already in south GA, I may go ahead and put one out in the next week or so. I look forward to their return too Mary.

Enjoy your time away, and come back when you are ready. We'll be here with open arms. :c)

Cheryl said...

What joy Mary, they are indeed a beautiful sight. I am so envious, they are a very special little bird. Look forward to seeing your photos soon.
After a mild spring, there is a bad storm coming across the Atlantic and heading for the south of england. I hate bad storms and they are saying this could be severe. We are so exposed here I am just hoping and praying my garden can take the brunt of the storm with little damage.

Enjoy your rest.

lol

Carol said...

Enjoy your break and the longer evenings of daylight savings time. I shall try to put up my own hummingbird feeder, because you said that I should.

When it comes to feeding birds, I follow your lead, Mary-the-Wise-Bird-Feeder. You are far from simple minded.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Wren said...

What absolutely great hummer photos. What a treat they are, and such a nice sign of spring, too.

Sherry at the Zoo said...

We have a flower bed right outside our window and often have hummingbirds feeding on the nectar. I should put out a real hummingbird feeder and see how many more I can attract...what do you put in your feeders?

Mary said...

Hi Sherry at the Zoo, try a feeder. They need the nectar from flowers and feeders to maintain their energy for catching bugs! I bring to a boil 4 parts water and 1part sugar. I store a large container in my frig - 16 cups water to 4 cups sugar. Good luck!

Sandpiper said...

Wonderful pictures, Mary. It sounds like you have the right idea about enjoying the beautiful springtime. I look forward to your return!

nikkipolani said...

I appreciate your bird-tutorial, Mary; that was lovely and beautifully accompanied by your photos.

Mary said...

Hi Angie! Those hummingbirds might be in your area within a week or so. Get ready ;-) Enjoy the Great Blue Heron. I refer to them as "Stinkers" since they've had lunch at my pond too many times.

T.R. said...

Your photographs are exceptional. I need to learns some tricks from you. I'm with you on the break....!!!

Toni said...

Mary you are such a tease with this post and the last one. We are sitting here all bundled up under several feet of snow. Like about 4 feet.

But the red wing blackbirds were here today eating everything.
Have fun in the sun sweaty. :)

Naturegirl said...

Mary as I was walking about a local garden shop here IN ARIZONA filled with cacti I must add..there was the familiar HUMMMM..ing behind me..my first siting of a Hummer..landing on the sweet blossoms...I cannot tell you how excited I was!! I shall be armed with my camera next time.
A break away from the PC is a good thing every once in awhile..come back though..hugs NG

gardenpath said...

Mary, that camera of yours sure takes good bird shots, or maybe it is you??

Our robins should appear this week, if they are on schedule, but we won't see hummers for a long while.
Sandy

Kerri said...

WOW Mary! You caught some great shots of these guys last year!!!
They are one of my favorite birds....OK you probably hear me say that about all birds...I can't help it...I just LOVE them.
Hope it warms up for you....it was 55 when I got up yesterday morning....it is 21 this morning. BRRRRRR! One never knows what March will bring....hopefully it will warm up soon!


PS - I posted some bird pics on my last post too!

Seabrooke said...

Not hummingbird related, but - tag, you're it! ...but only if you want to play (assuming you haven't yet!). :)

Trixie said...

Enjoy your break, I can't wait to see more spring! Your peeks at spring are most welcome up here.

gretchen said...

Fantastic photographs (as always)! Absolutely stunning! Enjoy your rest and we will all be here to welcome you back when when you feel ready to resume your posts! Thank you for these recent photos of spring - they give those of us up here in northern New England hope! warm hugs (to Chloe and Bella, too), gretchen

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Pam over at Digging was just saying her columbine was budding. I always start looking for our hummers when the columbine is blooming in our garden. With you showing these photos I am realllly getting excited. You have some great photos of your hummers and pretty feeders too.

maddie said...

Love the pictures! I'm a new birder, and am learning a lot (each day, it seems).

I think I am finally getting the drift of where to post, at least I hope so. I was going to the bottom of the page, but that's not the current blog page. :)

Alyssa said...

Hi Mary,

Thank you for the bright, summer pictures. They make me happy just to see them and I'm sure you'll have those little guys at your feeders soon. I can understand how you can be burned out staring at a computer screen all day and then getting on one at night. Certain days at work I'm on the computer alot and when I get home, that's the last thing I want to see!! Enjoy your time outside - I wish it was me! But, alas it was 9 degrees here Friday night - I think we've entered a new Ice Age!

Roshanda said...

These photos are amazing! I can only imagine the joy these little guys bring you.

Larry said...

That's funny that this post is in red-Is that for more good luck to attract hummingbirds?

BirdingMom said...

Our hummers will not come back until May 1st ... although I do seem to remember that last year they suprised us early ... you have inspired me to get ready now!
N~

Marvin said...

Fab shots! We've got another three or four weeks before the hummers arrive here on their flight up the center of North America.