Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Patience pays off. I tried for several days to capture a picture of one of these fast little fliers, sitting quietly near a feeder we have in our backyard. Finally Sunday afternoon I succeeded in capturing a nice image of a female. We have two Ruby-Throated hummingbirds in our yard, each fighting for dominance over the feeders. It seems to make no difference to them that there is plenty to go around. Between the three feeders and numerous plants there is no shortage of food for them. They simply do not want to share. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is the only breeding resident hummingbird in the eastern portion of the United States. They are bright iridescent emerald green on their back and buffy white on the underside,the male has a distinctive ruby colored throat from whence they get their name. They are rapid fliers as anyone can attest to that have seen them. They hover over flowers and feeders with wings beating so fast as to almost be invisible. They can stop on a dime, fly backwards, upwards, forwards or any which way they want. They are true acrobats of the avian world. Many hummingbirds tend to be territorial such as the two females present in my yard right now. Putting feeders out of sight of one another usually ends the squabbling. If you would like to attract hummingbirds to your yard, plant a variety of sweet blooming plants, such as Columbine, Weigeila, Cardinal flower, trumpet Vine, or most any other red colored flower. Placing sugar water feeders out is a good idea too. You can buy commercial grade powder to mix with water, or make your own. It is one part sugar to 4 parts water, brings to boil and let cool, then fill the feeders. There is no need for food coloring as most feeders have red on them. These little beauties will appreciate your efforts to provide food for them. Many of them travel well over 1000 miles on their migratory journey. They are sure to build up a healthy appetite.

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