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.





A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched on my hat.

The Story

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.

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