Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
I never tire of watching these little birds darting
about, and place a couple of feeders in the flower garden by the sunroom
each year. You can get surprising close to these little speed demons,
but they rarely stay in one place long enough to get a decent picture.
Each year I try, but so far I've only had limited success.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched on my hat.
This picture deserves a little explanation.
Checking in at only 1/8 of once, these birds can be surprisingly
aggressive. In the NJ area, the month of August sees a sharp rise in the
level of feeding as the birds fatten up for their long migration back to
Central America. The females and
yearlings tend to be less skittish around this time and on occasion will
actually follow me around the yard. I was a little surprised when
this particular bird started flying into the garage while I was working
in my shop. She would look me over for a few seconds as if ready to ask
a question, then dart out. This pattern continued for a few days until
one evening I found the bird perched on the hanging lights, exhausted. I
must have inadvertently closed the garage door just as the bird was
coming in for her daily visit. Camera in hand, I climbed up to where the
bird was perched wondering how I was going to get this young lady back
outside. I was hoping that a tiny nudge with my hat might get her
started in the proper direction. Instead I ended up with the bird
contently perched on the rim of my hat. I was able to call the family in
to see and take a few pictures before she decided to head back to
wherever home was.
Of course, I can only repeat this story with picture
in hand, as it has all the makings of a rather tall tale. But I'll leave
that up to you to ponder.
If anyone is interested in setting up feeders in their yard and would
like some tips, just shot me an email. I've found that these little
birds definitely have a preference as to the type of feeder and sugar
solution they like best. There are also some real do's and don'ts when
it comes to feeding hummingbirds.