Tuesday, July 15, 2014

And a Hummingbird Image

(Reclaimed from Bubblews.)

The flying hummingbird, photographed by Pippalou at Morguefile.com, did not originally appear with the Bubblews post. The bird at the feeder did:

(Photo credit: mensatic from morguefile.com.)

This one is just for the reader who commented last year that she would have liked another post about hummingbirds. Here's a Morguefile photo, donated by Mensatic, showing this little bird the way most North Americans actually see it. There are photos of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris, sitting still at www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ruby-throated_Hummingbird/id and other educational web sites.

Males usually do show bright red patches on the throats. As with many wild birds, females are less colorful than males. I'm not altogether sure of this specimen's species identity; there are other species of hummingbirds in the Southwestern States and in some other countries. However, female Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds don't necessarily show any red feathers.

Hummingbirds usually visit my part of the world in July and August, when the wildflower called jewelweed is in bloom. We most often see them near streams where jewelweed grows profusely. 

(Jewelweed photo by Gracey at Morguefile.) However, the birds appreciate any kind of sweet nectar, and people who take the trouble to set out feeders stocked with sugar syrup often see hummingbirds as early as June. Nectar and syrup are their only foods; they don't eat solids. Very patient people have semi-tamed the birds; hummingbirds never become real pets, but they can be persuaded to come close if they're quite sure a human is not going to make any sudden moves.

Their wings really do hum, and vibrate faster than the eye can see, to keep the birds hovering in the air. They can be mistaken for large moths. I have no hope of being able to photograph a hummingbird that can be recognized with my camera phone.

Hummingbirds spend most of the year in Central America. Though most fly across Mexico, the ones who spend the summer on the East Coast have been known to fly across the Gulf of Mexico, from Florida to Guatemala.