Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hummingbird Visit

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are seen at the habitat's hummingbird feeders several times a day. This one is a female, which has a white throat versus the male's ruby colored throat. She appeared as I was doing my once a weekend drill of standing as still as possible about 5 feet from the feeders with the camera and seeing which birds show up. It is exciting to hear the sound of the wings as the hummingbird approaches - your instinct is to duck as you think it is a large bee or insect. But, if you remain still the hummingbird will feed - either while in flight or after perching. In the first photo we see her extending her neck before feeding - a practice that I have seen before but do not fully understand.

In the second photo, we get a good appreciation of her wingspan and feathers. In the second photo, we also get a great view of the toes - front and back.

As shown in the third photo, typically after feeding, they perch in the nearby dogwood tree. Observing them in the tree takes a good eye - not only because of their small size but also because they blend into the green leaves. In the dogwood, I have observed them perch for 5 to 10 minutes regardless of the comings and goings of other larger birds in the tree. Of course, as the hummingbird is very territorial and possessive of their feeder, only one hummingbird manages to stay at the feeder or in the dogwood at one time. Watching the hummingbirds compete for the feeder is like watching an aerial dogfight. I have observed four at a time chasing and feeding.

I'll post photos of the males with their bright throats in a later posting. Posted by Picasa

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