Sunday, May 24, 2015

Return of the Hummingbirds

Finally, on this sunny and pleasant Memorial Day weekend, I got around to putting out a brand spanking new hummingbird feeder filled with homemade nectar in hopes the first arrivals of the season would find it. It didn't take them long.

Within the hour I had two, maybe three hummers taking turns at the sipping stations. (I have yet to see more than one hummingbird at a time on any feeder; they are not good at sharing.) I believe these are ruby-throated, the most common species in this part of the country. The one in the photo is a female, I believe, with a green-gold crown and white underparts.

First hummingbird of the season: female, ruby-throated

My new feeder has a much larger base than the ones I've used in the past, and so should be a lot easier to clean. It is very important to keep the feeders clean and the sugarwater (one part sugar to four parts water) fresh so that the hummers will stay healthy.

A surprise for this first feeding came in the form of two large birds that flew in and perched on the feeder a few times. I believe they may have been a House Finch pair, given some reddishness I saw on the throat. I am not sure if they thought a sip of nectar would be refreshing on a warm afternoon or if they hoped some seed, fruit, and nuts might be available. Perhaps the increase in size of my feeder looked like an open invitation for birds larger than tiny.

These finches didn't see any sign saying "Hummingbirds only"

In any event, the arrival of the first hummingbirds is always an exciting occasion. The wondrous little hovercraft also liked our flowering butterfly bushes and soon will enjoy the Lantana as it regenerates and blooms.

                                               © Robert G. Holland  2015

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