Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Of Peripatetic Hummers and Pesky Wasps

Finally, I snapped a photo of our resident hummingbird. It prefers the feeder right smack dab outside our bedroom window, thereby giving me some photo-ops. You still have to be patient and wait for the hummer to show up while you have your camera at the ready. And why is he (or she) fuzzier in the picture than other objects? Probably because a hummer's motor is always running, and the creature never really still. (By the way, given the greenness of the back and the white underparts, I believe this is a female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. That is my best guess from consulting my bird books.)

To make this photo possible, I had to go outside wielding my walking stick to swat away a few wasps from the hummingbird feeder. They are increasingly becoming uninvited guests there -- and here is the shocker: They scare off the hummingbirds! I didn't think hummers were afraid of anything, but evidently the possibility of being stung is a real threat to them.

It may well be that after having several hummingbirds dive-bombing and soaring around here a few weeks ago, we are down to just this one. She is not being chased off by other hummers, just an occasional wasp. That's why I have dubbed this our resident hummingbird. Sometimes when most of these fascinating little birds migrate southward, a few stay at a spot they have found hospitable. We are trying to be good hosts by keeping the homemade nectar (four parts water/one part sugar) freshly supplied and swatting off the wasps.

When we head into fall, I hope Superdawg and I will take longer and longer Nature walks during which we can identify a greater variety of birds, both on the beach and inland. For at least a few more days, it will continue to be sultry and stifling outside. We struggled through a walk this morning, but then I enjoyed a workout and knee rehab in the almost-deserted community pool. Yesterday, I did the exercise bicycle plus even a little time on the treadmill, a piece of equipment I usually despise. It wasn't so bad; maybe I will add it into the exercise mix on indoor days.

Mainly I want to keep the welcome mat out for the woodland critters. We are looking forward to all the Octoberfest walking and then the Great Backyard Bird Count this winter. If we are very lucky, our resident hummingbird will hang around with us.

                                                    © Robert G. Holland 2013

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