Hummer Time

On April 27, I saw a Rufous hummingbird in my back yard. The first one this season and about a week later than usual. I recognized the little metallic tinkle of its hum before I even saw his copper and brown features. The Red honeysuckle was already blooming and I had set out a few nectar feeders as well. Several Rufous males and females hung around a few days and we probably would have seen more if we had played hooky from work. My Audubon handbook says they fly the furthest of all hummingbirds. This beautiful photograph was one of last summer’s Rufous in the area. (Julia, the wife of one my young co-workers, got up close and perfect for that shot.)

Within a few days, some Calliopes found their way to my back yard as well. Many of them summer in the local mountain range. They are the tiniest hummers in North America. At first I thought one was a Broadtail. He came up on our patio feeder and the skylight reflected his neck color as a brilliant red. I attempted to take some pictures, but the digital camera refused to snap. (My hubby says it was probably the nut behind the viewer.) A broadtail sighting wouldn’t be the first in the valley, but it is not very likely.

Then the following week came the Black Chinned hummers. I felt like we had a hummer bed and breakfast….without having to change the sheets.

Black Chins are the ones I most often see throughout the summer in my flowers and feeders. A male will claim a feeder then find a spot up in one of the trees and wait for an intruder. The aerial displays are awesome. They look like they are swinging on a wire as they buzz from a high point - then dive bomb in a perfect arc shape and back up to an equally high point. I was working down on my knees close to a feeder one evening when I heard a buzz, then silence, then another buzz, then silence. I finally looked up and was startled to see I was the object of a dive-bomber. I was the intruder. How brave and daring he was.

We are acquainted with a couple that live about 15 miles from us, up in the foothills of the mountains. The Calliope's nest there, as do quite a few Rufous and Black Chinned. They have so many that you can put your hands on the nectar feeders and they will light on you while they feed.

The hubby took this picture at their house at dusk. Calliopes are all over my hands.

Our grandson stood very still while a calliiope sat on his fingers.



This one is our red-headed grandaughter in my raincoat. I chose this picture because she had a black-chinned hummingbird coming in on the right. A calliope is sitting on her right hand.

For several weeks now the hummers have disappeared around my house. Usually after the spring migration a small number stick around during the summer months, and then increased activity again in the fall. Did the work in THE BACKYARD and the neighbor’s house remodel distress them? Was the unusual rainy season and cooler weather a factor, and are they scarce in the area? I know my yard is not a destination resort for hummingbirds, but I’m still a little worried.

Hope they buzz back soon.


This is Kayla, a friends daughter. You can see the delight in her eyes as she watches the Rufous on her left hand and the Calliope on her right.


Comments

Karmyn R said…
I thought mine were gone too - but saw a female rufous this afternoon - braving the heat of the day.
Susan said…
Wow, those are really neat photos! Thanks for sharing!
Walker said…
I've never seen hummers landing on people's hands before! Mine are way more wild than that. Great photos!

Say, that feeder looks kind of like the type that has a reputation for trapping hummingbirds and killing them.

See http://hummingbirds.net/best1mod.html

Might not be the same.
Walker said…
I've never seen hummers landing on people's hands before! Mine are way more wild than that. Great photos!

Say, that feeder looks kind of like the type that has a reputation for trapping hummingbirds and killing them.

See http://hummingbirds.net/best1mod.html

Might not be the same.
Pamela said…
Walker. thank goodness they aren't. She's been hummin' for 17 years and knows alot bout them.

I've seen those other brands in the store. They are very flat on top and there is no angle for the natural beak and tongue activity --
Anonymous said…
that looks fun.
ivy

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