Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hummer Time

Hummingbirds are amusing to watch as they flutter effortlessly at a feeder.  I sit upon our porch railing, with my head being only a foot or so from where the feeder is hanging, and watch as our feisty resident immature male ruby-throat comes along and taps the red make believe flower that protrudes from the feeder’s base.  At times he will come within inches of my face trying to determine if I’m friend or foe, so close I can hear the drone of his tiny wings. This little dude has been hording the precious 4:1 sugary concoction (4 parts water, 1 part sugar) I made just recently, guarding it ferociously from any other fellow hummer that comes near it.  This type of find is like a gold mine to a hummingbird. 
When at rest he perches in two separate areas, keeping an eye out for interlopers- one spot is in a camphor tree about five yards from the feeder, the other is a large water oak that resides nearby in our vacant lot next door.  He does not even give the others a taste, chasing them off when they get near the feeder.   There have been times where the battle for the feeder had gotten so intense there would be hummingbirds zipping back and forth through our front porch over our heads like a mad swarm of bees.

By the way, the ants you see, I was told, are from the ant subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae commonly called a "twig ant" whom also enjoy the sweet water and also could serve as protein for the hummingbird.

If you're looking for a good hummingbird book to read might I suggest Dan True's book "Hummingbirds of North America- Attracting, Feeding, & Photographing".  The is one of the best I've come across so far and is a must for anyone's nature library.

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