Posted by: ktzefr | August 19, 2011

Hummingbirds as entertainment

The hummer was at eye level a few feet in front of me with his wings a blur and throat a bright cherry red.  All the others , the females and the young males, have white or light greenish throats.  This one doesn’t come around nearly as much so this is the closest I’ve been to him.  I reach for the camera and he zooms away.  Again and again I try to get a picture with no luck, just one blur after another.

I did get a fairly decent picture of one of the females, or a young male, sipping at the feeder. 

Hummingbird; Photo:KFawcett

Hummingbird; Photo:KFawcett

Four or five hummers come every day and share my outdoor work space.  One minute I’m trying to work and the next I’m mesmerized by the birds. All day they zoom back and forth across the yard and zip around one side of the house then quickly show up on the other.  They go from feeder to feeder, chasing one another, having stand-offs in mid-air, and stopping  only for a few seconds to preen themselves in the dogwood or maple tree.   They exhaust me!

 Imagine spending most of your waking hours  with your heart beating more than 1,000 times a minute, always looking for food and requiring fuel several times your body weight each day, spending every moment you’re not eating either guarding your territory or fighting off those who would take it over, and then having to somehow get yourself  all the way to Mexico every autumn in order to survive the winter.  As the natural world goes, we humans are pretty lucky. 

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New high-speed videos of hummingbirds overturn nearly two centuries of conventional wisdom on how they drink.  Check it out!

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