Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Flying Wonder Known as the Hummingbird

When I first learned that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds could be found where we live, I imagined viewing these lovely creatures as they sipped nectar delicately outside our window. 

So I planted hummingbird-attracting flowers and set up a feeder outside our bay window and filled it with ruby red nectar.  Weeks went by but not one bird was seen.

Then one day I noticed that the feeder was empty.  It was impossible; could a small bird swig that much nectar in a day?!  I finally figured out that the wind rotated the feeder, causing the nectar to spray around attracting ants...not exactly the creatures I was hoping to entice to the feeder.

I moved the feeder to our vegetable patch.  Maybe these birds were shy or that the pines hid the bright red feeder.  The new location doesn't allow easy monitoring compared to the tree outside the bay window.  Sigh.  But what to do, I really want to see the hummingbird.

Then one day in June, after almost 2 months of dutiful monitoring and maintenance of the feeder (the nectar needs to be changed every 4 days), a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird was sighted at the feeder.  We were overjoyed and spied on it constantly.  At first, Ruby (uncreative name, huh?) was shy.  She'd flee when she realize we were peering at her through our binoculars or photographing her.  Eventually she got the hang of us. 
Once we picnicked near the feeder and watched in amazement as she divebombed to defend her feeder from a pair of male and female hummingbirds. Ruby was fierce!  The feeder and the beautifully flowering Lobelias were hers and hers alone. 
It is now spring again.  We look forward to receiving Ruby again when she comes back from her wintering grounds.