Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hummingbird Tales

It was at the beginning of August that all of a sudden I had large numbers of Ruby Throated Hummingbirds showing up at my feeder. All the babies had left the nests but I had no idea where they came from as I had only a few adults all spring and summer. I had to get 2 more feeders as I wasn't able to keep them filled. And what a joy it has been to watch them and listen to all the sounds they are making - besides the humming from their wings they seem to have very lively conversations! It starts at the crack of dawn and ends at dusk. Usually they can be quite territorial and there always seems to be one that chases the rest away but this little group hanging out at my place seems rather peaceful and cooperative. I've observed several times 2 birds drinking together out of one hole at the feeder. And in the mornings they all sit nicely at their spots and drink their breakfast - they must be really hungry.
I used my 105mm macro lens for these images as it is the fastest lens I have. I find it very challenging to get a sharp photo and am happy with the results thus far. But there is definitely room for improvement and I am still missing a shot of a hummingbird drinking out of a flower.

I read that the male hummingbirds leave first in the fall, then the females and a week later the juveniles take off. Each hummer migrates by itself - so how do the young ones know where to go?? 
Nearly all hummingbirds and songbirds migrate at night. One of the most impressive feats is the flight over the waters of Gulf of Mexico - a 500 miles journey with no place to stop. For 18-22 hrs straight the hummers fly nonstop to reach the other side.
And comes spring they return to the same place they were born. Makes me wonder if I will need 6 feeders next year to accommodate  them.... It will be very quiet around my house when they'll leave soon and I am looking forward to spring already.....

Enjoy, Susanne