The back yard has been very busy the last few days! We generally get tons of hummers at this time of year, but I’m not used to still seeing so many orioles this far into September. I’m so glad they’re back! They disappeared for a while and I was sure the neighborhood cats had run them off. The hummers are eating the jelly, too! They are most welcome!
It’s that time of the summer when all the hummers are bulking up for the trip south. There is a great deal of jostling around the feeders. This hummer has staked out a spot immediately to the right of the feeder where he launches at anyone who gets too close to the nectar.
I think we are friends now. A couple of weeks ago, I was out in the morning right before dawn and discovered this little guy sleeping on a small limb in a bush very close to where the feeder is hanging. I tip-toed around, but he woke up, buzzed around my head, and took off. Ever since then, whenever I am near the feeders, he just comes right over and starts drinking. I can be just a few feet away. I often think for some birds, all they need to know is you’re not going to mess with them. For many of our yard critters, I am just part of the baseline. I love that.
This morning I saw someone post on a local birding list their first of the spring hummer sighting. I got the sugar out and went to work. Hummer feeder up and ready!
I say something like this, every year. There is something both amazing and heartbreaking about watching the hummers in the fall. Most of the adults have left already, so we are now seeing the young ones. Here are these tiny birds, no more than six-months old, who will be crossing the Gulf of Mexico soon. Every year, I watch them camp out near the feeders for several days, even a few weeks sometimes, drinking all they can, fighting to keep that spot, and getting plumper by the day. I start to recognize them. One may have a particular white shape above the eye, or an interesting pattern as the ruby-throat begins to develop. I get attached. I worry about their journey. I watch the weather vane on our neighbor’s house to see wind change. I know a steady north wind may be when they take off, if they have stored enough to get to the next place in their migration south. I know I will never know if they made it, or if they return to our area next year, but I wish them a safe journey. Click on pictures to enlarge.
After seeing very few hummingbirds in the spring, they are now at our feeders in huge numbers, plumping up for the journey south. It has been so much fun watching them. At one feeder, it seems two adult males are sharing and running everyone else off. They spar with each other, but generally let each other drink. Everyone else has to work a bit harder to get to the nectar. It is an interesting dynamic. Sometimes, it seems aggressive. Other times, it seems more like play. Only they know. Click on pictures to enlarge.
I imagine many of you are wondering where all the hummer photos are. The bees have been very busy at both the hummer and oriole feeders over the last few weeks, so I have been avoiding sitting nearby. For whatever reason, and it may have something to do with preparing for fall, the bees pretty much leave the feeders alone all summer, and then do some serious eating in August. The orioles, hummers, and bees seem to coexist pretty well and everyone eats eventually. I put out a small test-tube feeder every morning that the bees drink from, so that helps. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Hummingbirds seem to be everywhere right now, buzzing around the yard, jostling for nectar. Each year, the amount we see during migration grows. I think this is not only because we just keep planting stuff, but we are seeing the children of birds who have visited in previous years. It’s very exciting! Click on pictures to enlarge.
Every picture I post this week and next will be from the area of the Wakarusa Wetlands that will be obliterated by the SLT. I have hundreds of pictures of hundreds of species who will be displaced and/or killed by greed and indifference.
This will be gone.
Click on pictures to enlarge.