Hummingbirds

Jenn and I were a little bit late to the hummingbird game. We’ve had a feeder in the garage practically since we moved into the house in May, 2007 but we didn’t put/fill it up until the very end of Summer this year.

The first attempt was literally a mess.

We didn’t boil the water/sugar mixture.
We nearly lost several tiny, key components to the feeder (stopper, hook).
We (I) spilled some of the “nectar”.

All in all, not a fruitful first effort.

But over the last six weeks or so as the “season” for ruby-throated hummingbirds is waning and they all prepare for the long, southerly flight to warmer weather, we’ve had multiple visitors every day.

They seem to be most prominent early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
They always hang out in our weeping cherry tree before and after feeding.
They are extremely territorial, dive-bombing one another and any bug or bird that attempts to crowd their space.

Hummingbird chilling

Here’s my favorite photo of one grabbing a meal from a flower on a neighboring bush near our feeder:

Hummingbird Feeding

I was very inspired to snap some of my shots based on this Petapixel post. And while I didn’t go to the trouble of spending a weekend day parked in front of the feeder, I think the shots above show off the calm and busy states of the hummingbird perfectly.

I’ve also been inspired by the recent photography and sketches of Ben Prisk. Seems he’s had hummingbirds on the brain too.

And since I’m linking willy-nilly to any and all things hummingbird-related here’s Wilco’s “Hummingbird” an excellent track from “A Ghost is Born”:

The beginning of the above song make me think of the opening of Guster’s “Manifest Destiny”. Guster, you may or may not know, had and album, “Keep it Together”, whose art featured – you guessed it – a hummingbird.

I’m going to stop now before I hurt myself (or you).

If you’re curious to see some of my other backyard photography, have a look!

Happy Sunday Hummingbirding!

3 thoughts on “Hummingbirds

  1. Cool! We’ve got three feeders and a bath in our back yard. We discussed putting up some hummingbird feeders, but it’s so close to the end of the season for them that we’re not going to this year. We have seen a hummingbird or two fly around, and one of them likes to inspect me when I’m mowing the lawn.

  2. You should definitely put one up next year. Very rewarding.

    We can’t really hear the buzz of their wings or chirps of their calls over the waterfall babbling, but they’re stunning in flight and even more curious perched.

    You just don’t expect a bird that busy and quick to ever sit still for any length of time.

    On the one occasion I was already outdoors when one flew over to the feeder, she made sure to fly by my head once or twice just to make sure I was ok.

  3. A word of warning, be sure to only boil the nectar solution for about 1-2 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Doing so for any longer will change the chemical makeup of the sugar and then it is no longer good for the hummingbirds.

    Also, there is no need to add red dye to the nectar solution. The dye is harmful to the hummingbirds and it isn’t necessary to attract the hummingbirds. Besides, most feeders on the market today have some red on them anyway. Even without the dye, the hummingbirds will eventually find your feeder.

    Lastly, if you have too much nectar solution left after filling the feeder, it will keep in the icebox for up to a week. Just make sure you label whatever you use to store the solution.

    Hope you don’t let the challenges that you had this hummingbird season keep you from continuing to enjoy them in the future. Hummingbirds are so fascinating and well worth any effort you put out. Best of luck in the future!

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