Nice to see this guy back

Photo by Chris Bosak A male ruby-throated humminacgbird visits a feeder in Danbury, Conn., during the spring of 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak A male ruby-throated hummingbird visits a feeder in Danbury, Conn., during the spring of 2017.

Not sure if it’s the same male ruby-throated hummingbird I had last fall, but at any rate, it was good to see him return to the feeder a few days ago. He’s been their daily, several times a day. The female is still hanging around, too. Hopefully there’s a love connection there and they’ll build a nest somewhere on my property. I’ll keep my eyes open.

 

Look who’s back

Photo by Chris Bosak A ruby-throated hummingbirds hovers near a feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in April 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A ruby-throated hummingbirds hovers near a feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in April 2017.

This female ruby-throated hummingbird arrived today (Sunday, April 30, 2017) at the feeder. I put the feeder out about two weeks ago in anticipation of the hummingbirds’ return. Is it the same female hummingbird that has visited my feeder over the last few seasons? I’m not sure, but I’m glad to welcome them back, either way. Hopefully she will find a suitable nesting site on my property. If she heads farther north, well, that’s fine, too.

Photo by Chris Bosak A ruby-throated hummingbirds perches on a feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in April 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A ruby-throated hummingbirds perches on a feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in April 2017.

Hummingbird stories, tips and suggestions from BoNE readers

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovers near a feeder in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovers near a feeder in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016

The vast majority of the hummingbirds have gone south by now. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do another post on these spectacular tiny birds. I did a series of posts and bird columns on hummingbirds a few months ago and received a tremendous amount of feedback. So here, in no particular order or font, is a ton of information from Birds of New England readers. Thanks so much for your feedback and feel free to write any time. Siimply comment on this post or send me an email to bozclark@earthlink.net

From Marsha,

We live in condos on a large open pond surrounded by trees so it’s a perfect environment for the little birds, lots of open space to chase each other around and lots of areas to perch. I can’t seem to get them to come to my feeder (I have one and my neighbor has 3) but they do occasionally visit my hanging petunias and fuschias which I specifically hung knowing hummers are attracted to the tubular flowers. They are extremely entertaining to watch and I was very disappointed to learn that they were actually being aggressive toward each other and not playing. Oh well, I guess it can’t be Disney all the time…

From Joan,

I have a feeder hanging about 2 feet from the glass jalousies that enclose my breezeway and see these little guys every day.  I don’t have any flowers near them (my yard is very shaded) but there are some coleus plants below the feeder so perhaps they see those bright colors.  I also have a hairy woodpecker who drinks from the hummingbird feeder and I find that I must refill it about every 4 days since he is so thirsty!  He just hooks his feet over the edge where the base meets the clear upper part and drinks away.  There are 3 plastic flowers around the base of the feeder that the birds drink from and they are a couple inches apart but if one hummingbird is drinking, the other one won’t go to one of the other flowers and in fact, if there are two of them around at the same time, they dive bomb each other.  One of the hummingbirds that comes has the bright red spot on his throat and the other one looks like the one in your picture without the red throat.  I can be just inside the windows that are tilted out and they come bopping around right up to the window.  I love seeing them and know they won’t be around too much longer but then it will be time to start buying sunflower seed for all my other winged friends Continue reading

Just when you thought the hummingbird photos were over

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated HummingAbird perches on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., summer 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated HummingAbird perches on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., fall 2016.

Well, I keep seeing them, so I’ll keep posting photos of them. Soon, the vast majority of hummingbirds will have left New England for their incredible migration to Central and South America. So as long as I keep seeing them …

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated HummingAbird perches on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., summer 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird perches on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., fall 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated HummingAbird perches on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., summer 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird perches on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., summer 2016.

 

Canna brings in the hummingbirds

 

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird sips nectar from Canna flower in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird sips nectar from Canna flower in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016.

My friend Stacy gave me some Canna rhizomes last winter. I stored them in the basement and planted them this spring. In the middle of summer, I had a few red flowers, but not as many as I thought I’d have. Now, at the end of summer/beginning of fall, I have tons of flowers. The hummingbirds are taking notice, as well, as proven by these photos.

Canna is a more southern plant so it should be dug up and stored over winter in New England. Kind of a hassle, but worth it …

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird sips nectar from Canna flower in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird sips nectar from Canna flower in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird sips nectar from Canna flower in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird sips nectar from Canna flower in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird sips nectar from Canna flower in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird sips nectar from Canna flower in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016.

Latest For the Birds column: More on hummingbirds (again)

Here’s the latest For the Birds column which runs in The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.), Keene (NH) Sentinel, and several weekly newspapers on Connecticut.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Errol Hotel in Errol, NH.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Errol Hotel in Errol, NH.

The emails about hummingbirds kept coming, so I will roll out one more column on these tiny birds.

I used to have the worst luck trying to find hummingbirds, but this year has been an exception. I have consistently seen them at my feeder and out in the field, so to speak.

Now is the time to look for them among the many patches of jewelweed, or touch-me-not, that grow at the edges of New England’s woods. Even in years when I don’t see a lot of hummingbirds, I always seem to find them in late summer and early fall buzzing around the small orange flowers of jewelweed.

But enough about where I am seeing them. Hummingbirds are obviously a regional favorite as I have received several emails regarding the species over the last few weeks. In addition to what I included a few weeks ago, here’s a sampling of what people are saying about the smallest of birds. Continue reading

Sixth (and final) hummingbird photo in series; and latest For the Birds column

Photo by Chris Bosak A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird takes off from a perch in Norwalk, Conn., summer 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird takes off from a perch in Norwalk, Conn., summer 2014.

This final photo in the hummingbird series comes with a bonus, the latest For the Birds column, which also happens to be about hummingbirds. I hope you enjoyed the series and thanks for checking out http://www.BirdsofNewEngland.com

Last week, I wrote about the hummingbirds visiting my feeder this summer. Hummingbirds, however, are much too interesting to be limited to one column.

This week, I’ll focus on facts about these tiny dynamos. Fun facts, of course, not just any old boring facts.

Before those facts, let me start with this … I ended my column last week by requesting from readers input about which flowers attract their hummingbirds.

I received an email from Carol, who relayed some interesting information. In addition to the flowers I mentioned in my last column, Carol said at her place pink phlox, gladiolas, perennial sweet peas, coleus flowers and morning glories do the trick.

“My special joy is watching them fly through the sprinkler and seeming to really enjoy their own personal showers. They are really amazing creatures,” Carol wrote.

Marsha wrote to say that petunias and fuchsia hanging in a basket bring the little birds in. She added, however, that neighbor’s feeders are busy, but they tend not to visit hers. Sometimes the bird world is unpredictable, even frustrating.

She also wrote to say she was disappointed that the birds are aggressive toward each other instead of playful. Then she summed up all of nature very succinctly: “Oh well, I guess it can’t be Disney all the time.”

Very well put, Marsha.

Pam from Walpole added trumpet vine and blue lobelia to the list.

Donna, who has a place on Granite Lake, wrote to say her hummingbirds are attracted to a hanging tri-level flower pot arrangement with mellow yellow cuphea.

Stephen sent in a picture of a bird on his hummingbird feeder. It was a downy woodpecker, not a hummingbird. That is not a common occurrence, but not terribly rare either. Woodpeckers, warblers, thrushes and some other species can sometimes be spotted at hummingbird feeders. Remember, Baltimore orioles can be attracted to a nectar feeder as well, but with a different mixture of water and sugar. Hummingbird nectar is four parts water to one part sugar; oriole nectar is less sweet at eight parts water to one part sugar. You may also need a special oriole feeder.

Now for some of those facts I promised — in no particular order.

There are more than 300 hummingbird species, and each one makes different humming noise with its wings. Imagine being so good at birdwatching you tell each one by the humming of its wings. Hey, many birders know the woodpecker species from its knocking, so why not?

Of those more than 300 species, only eight regularly breed in the U.S. — and only one east of the Mississippi River. Most hummingbirds are tropical and do not migrate. They are strictly a Western Hemisphere bird so don’t go to Europe, Asia or Africa and expect to see hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds can flap their wings up to 90 times per second — and even faster during courtship.

Many birds can hover, but hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards.

Hummingbirds double their weight before taking off for their incredible migration over the Gulf of Mexico.

Hummingbirds have tiny feet and far fewer feathers (only about 1,000) than most birds to help them fly easier. By comparison, the Mallard has about 12,000 feathers.

If you started putting ruby-throated hummingbirds on a scale (for whatever reason) you would have to place 150 of them for it to read one pound.

Hummingbirds are aggressive not only toward other hummingbirds but also birds such as hawks, blue jays and crows. In other words, don’t mess with a hummingbird.

 

Hummingbird photo number 2

 

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird eats at a feeder in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird eats at a feeder in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016

Updated: Somehow I repeated my first hummingbird photo. Two days into the series and I messed it up already. The photo above is the replacement (the one that should have been there in the first place). Sorry about that. Thanks for the heads up, Wayne.

Here’s is the second of a few posts featuring photos of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. The male’s throat is red or black or somewhere in between depending on how the light is hitting it.