Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Waitin' on the Hummers
I put out my hummingbird feeders yesterday. This year, I put out four feeders. Three are on the deck near the sliding doors (where I can see them from inside) and the other one is in the front yard--near the roses. I have enjoyed the hummingbirds for several years---LONG before I got interested in backyard birds.
Here on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, we mostly get Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Occasionally, we get Rufous Hummingbirds ---but not often. It took me a long time to learn that the female Ruby-throated looks very different from the male, just like my bird friends.
The Ruby is about 3 3/4 inches long. Weighing about a nickel, he/she can briefly reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. WOW!!! In straight-ahead flight, hummingbirds beat their wings up to 80 times per second, and their hearts can beat up to 1200 times per minute. (It's no wonder they don't have a weight problem!!! ha)
Hummingbirds are among the few birds that can fly both vertically and in reverse. The Rubys migrate across the Gulf of Mexico ---a nonstop 500 mile journey. These birds 'winter' in Central America. The male Ruby has a black chin, a dark tail and a ruby red throat. The female Ruby has an iridescent green back and a fine, dark streaking on the white throat.
The thing I notice about our Rubys is that they belligerently defend their food sources in their territory. The 'bully' --as George calls him---stays up in a nearby tree and when any other hummer comes to the feeder, he buzzes down and runs them off.
The Rubys do not form pairs. The male and female meet for mating, and then the female nests and raises the young ones ALONE. (Shame on him!!!) Above and below are some hummingbird photos taken by us over the last few years. I can't wait 'til this year's group get here!!!!! When they do, I'm sure I'll share some pictures with you!!!!
Aren't these tiny little birds just amazing???? I hope all of you enjoy them as much as I do. Have a wonderful day today!