Two weeks ago, I put up a hummingbird feeder… check out the tongue in the liquid!
The first week, I didn’t see any birds come over… but according to the feeder’s instructions, that was normal.
This past week, the birds have come… slowly at first, and now I think I might be feeding the neighborhood!
See, the feeder’s directions stated that a hummingbird would return as often as every 15 minutes… my feeder is frequented more often than that!
I took my time getting pictures of the birds, slowly having my presence be known but not a threat. Now I can put my camera on the deck with the long lens on the tripod and they don’t even care. In fact, I can stand about arms length from the feeder and they will stay and drink. It is sooo cool!
Now to go through the over 400 pictures I have taken… heh.
Some were easy to weed out… I found out that the reason some of my pictures were so out of focus was because I had the sliding glass door closed and those pictures just weren’t as sharp as the ones where there was only air between my camera and my subject. 😉
I’ve taken several movies, too, with my dSLR, but they are huge, space wise, and I’m still trying to figure out how to post or even email those to family… so for now… we will deal with the over 400 still pictures. 🙂
Since I have been observing these hummingbirds up close and personal for about a week, I’m fairly certain I have at least three feathered friends. Two are cooperative and two are competitive. By that, I mean, two will feed at the same time… while the other two will not… which makes three. Does that make any sense?
I have a slew of pictures of one particular hummingbird… I call him the dominant one… I think that he found the feeder first… and the others found it later…
The dominant one, feels very VERY comfortable at the feeder, comes by frequently, and really doesn’t mind me being right there next to him. Prior to moving to California, I was unaware that hummingbirds landed… don’t ask me how I thought they procreated… I really didn’t know… but I thought that hummingbirds, in general, had to keep moving, like fish. Now I know that is just not the case. My little dominant friend, lands on the feeder and even drinks for over 10 seconds without looking up. Wild!
I used to have a cockatiel, and when she was content she would puff up and rub her beak together, but when she got startled she would perk up and get all skinny… you can see from several of these pictures that the bird will get all comfortable and puff up… but that doesn’t last very long before another bird wants to be at the watering hole and then the little bird will perk up, get skinny and fly away…. a few minutes later one of the two will return.
I noticed in one of the movies I took, that the head of my feathered friend reflected a yellowish-green, and on it’s neck it reflected yellow, green, and red… was that the same bird?
Then late in the week, I saw a bird that had a ruby-ish neck… but wait, is that a reflection off the feeder?
I set out to take a picture of each pit-stop from the birds yesterday around sundown… which seems to be primetime happy hour, I think they are tanking up for the night. 😉 I positioned my camera out on the deck so that I could get better lighting… (hopefully my neighbor didn’t think I was taking a picture of their window, heh)…
Here are my observations, thus far…
This is my dominant friend, he has a green back, a light gray chest and a spotted neck, his head and neck sometimes reflects a yellowish-green…
This one is ever so slightly different, I think. I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but I think this one has a bit fewer spots on the neck and could possibly be the female? It looks very similar to my dominant friend, but has a little dot on it’s left side near it’s head, that I don’t think I see on the dominant one… I think I had more pictures of this one, but they are very poor quality due to the sliding glass door in the way…
And this one, I originally thought was ruby-necked (but it is a reflection), has a black head and a more turquoise body than the other two…
Did you know?
There are approximately 18 species of hummingbirds found in North America. For the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada, only the Ruby Throat will be seen. The other 17 species are west of the Rockies.1
Hummingbirds exist on nectar and insects, they consume half their weight in food daily. They may visit a flower or feeder as often as every 15 minutes.1
I bought my hummingbird food from Amazon, and will probably continue to do so. The hummingbirds seem to love the food. I could make it myself, with 1 part sugar and 4 parts water, which I would boil… but the food I purchased makes a smaller amount at a time, so I don’t have to worry about it spoiling and I don’t have to boil it. The store-bought food is also naturally colored and has no preservatives, so I can feel confident that I am not harming the little hummingbirds.
I found out from wikipedia that had I made the hummingbird food from turbinado sugar, I would have harmed the birds because, “brown, turbinado, and “raw” sugars contain iron, which can be deadly to hummingbirds if consumed over long periods”. Eek.2
As for what species of hummingbirds have been visiting my feeder, my current guess is that the dominant one and the possible female are Black-chinned Hummingbirds, whereas the one with the black head might be an Anna’s Hummingbird.
Apparently, there are a ton of different hummingbird species, and the little bit of research I have done so far, I haven’t found the 18 specific to North America.
I hope you have enjoyed my little presentation of hummingbird fun… I will be photographing my little heart out trying to figure out just how many hummingbirds are really visiting me. But don’t worry, if I post any more photos, I will do my best to weed them down to a reasonable number. Twenty-three out of 400 isn’t bad! 🙂
Until next time…
1 Ultra HummZinger feeder directions.