Thursday, September 07, 2006

The End of Hummer

You know, it seems like I had just noticed they were there and now they are all gone. Headed off to Costa Rica to spend the winter sipping nectar from exotic species of plants and playing in the jungle.


My hummingbirds, of course!

I think I saw the last one of the season yesterday on the backyard feeder. So in honor of their disappearance (What do you mean it's Fall?!), here are my notes, written 7/25 and 8/10, with pics.

First, the backstory (There's always a backstory) from 7/25:

I've been adding hummingbird attracting flowers for the last few years and yet nary a sight of one. The whole thing started years ago when I was working for Large Corporation (6 years ago?). One day, when I was really really sad, Eric took me into the backyard to give me some "green therapy". Looking at plants always makes me feel better. Suddenly, there was a hummingbird! Sipping nectar from one of my flowers! Then, zip! it was gone. I've never seen one since then.

Until yesterday [7/25].

The sight of the first one made me go crazy planting hummingbird attracting flowers, but I never actually SAW anymore until yesterday around 8:45am in my front yard. Yeehaw! Of course, it was mostly out of the corner of my eye - it zipped past me near the stairs, over to the cherry tree and the scarlet gilia (tubular shaped, red flowers) and then was gone. Desire to plant yet more red flowers: increased 10x!

Then this morning, Caitlin was eating her cereal around 9am and said, "There's a hummingbird." I have to admit that I didn't believe her at first, but Eric looked and confirmed a hummer on my cardinal flower vine on the back deck! It stayed there long enough for me to sprint over and see it. Yay!

I immediately started water boiling to make a sugar solution to go into the hummingbird feeder. Hah!

Now I'm just waiting for it to cool down and then I'll put it outside and see if my little friend returns!

Yayyyyyy! Hummingbirds!

Next year, yet more cardinal vines on the back deck! Yet more spying out the front window looking for hummingbirds.

That was all it took for me to turn the front yard into a hummingbird wonderland. Agastaches everywhere. On 8/10, I took pictures, at Eric's suggestion. You'd think I'd have just done it on my own, but I was just enjoying seeing them and didn't think about capturing them on film. Once I did it, I was really glad that I did. Now I have something to remember during the long winter, while waiting for April 15th - the date that hummers are expected to hit Colorado again in the spring. You can bet that next year I will have my feeders out on April 15th and will be waiting and watching for my hummers to return. Of course, I'll have planted a lot more plants between now and then!
Here's my note from 8/10, with pictures.

I'm sorry! Did you just say, "Show me some blurry hummingbird pics!"?


I thought you did! Here you go!

Here's the story with these pics: The first set were all taken on 8/9, in the front yard. Not 10 minutes after having installed this new, improved feeder (with bee guards) a hummer came to check it out and have a sip.

I think this is a female broad-tailed. Anyone have a better idea?

Zoomed in:

Feeding. That's homemade sugar water, from the kitchens of Chez Hatchet.

There are two of them, at the very least [Later I saw three together at one time fighting off yellow jackets from the backyard feeder. Family group?]. I never see more than 2 at one time and it usually involves one of the two being chased off. Normally from a feeder, this time from scarlet gilia. The gilia (which gets TALL when you water it regularly) is a big hit! Is that a Rufous? It seems very brown underneath.

Checking out my agastaches. The orange-pink flower to the left. The agastaches and Texas sage are BIG with the hummers.

Dive bomber. This is what a hummer headed STRAIGHT FOR YOU looks like. Gotta love a shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second to stop those wings!

By the way, these are all heavily cropped photos. Even with my monster 200mm lens, these are tiny birds, too far away. The difference looks like this:

Or this. Check out those feet! So cute!

This set is all from my backyard feeder, taken this evening. Irridescent green back. Check.

Acrobatic. Check.

Tiny feet. Check.

Is this a female or a juvenile male? Question mark.

S/he played peek-a-boo with me. I'd take a picture and she'd pop up and look at me, in between sips. Sip. Peek. Click. Sip. Peek. Click.

Then she flew up, two feet from my face, to check me out and then zipped away. Coolness!

Goodbye tiny birds! See you next year! Don't forget to tell the rest of your friends! We'll have remodeled the yard for ya, when you get back. Don't forget to write!

1 comment:

Scylla said...

I love those pictures!! Especially the one with Peek-A-Boo bird!

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