Monday, September 6, 2010

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Hummingbrids are on their way (fall migration) to their wintering ground at central and south America. They travel solitarily and with a nonstop flight of up to 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, which takes 18-22 hours depending on the weather. Males are the first to leave North America. They will travel over 2,000 miles to reach their final destination (Note: Rufous Hummingbirds-Selasphorus rufus, make the longest migration. They breed in Alaska and travel over 2,700 miles to reach their wintering ground in central America). Amazingly, they return to the same feeder year after year.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, male (click link to see my latest hovering hummer)

They become aggressively guarding the feeder in the late summer and early fall as they are fueling up and ready for migration. After 10 days to two weeks of male's departure, females are the next to migrate. Juveniles and immatures are the last to leave and will be gone by the end of October.

Simorgh's garden got so many visiting hummers in September. It's such an amazing experience to watch them hovering around the garden and chasing each other. I decided to hand-feed these hungry hummers.

Within few minutes, these friendly hummingbirds, mostly females and immatures, started coming to my hand-held feeder and tasting the nectar I freshly made for them. In those brief few seconds, as its beak first touched my hand, my world seemed stopped completely. Suddenly, I realized that something, a highly mobile, vibrating subject, could be destructive if the vibration is not in its own harmony. However, true peace and serenity come from a conscious within with control and full understanding to the flowers we cultivate, trees we plan and wildlife we care about. A highly hovering and vibrating small creature like hummingbirds are evolved to do whatever they have to do to reach their goals - traveling thousands of miles each year to their breeding ground in early spring and migrating back to their wintering ground in fall. During our brief contact, I seemed to understand their needs and wants, and how important nectar corridors along their migration route to them.

Thousands of hummingbirds each year rely on these nectar corridors for refueling during migration. With an estimated 328 species in the world, about 28 species are threatened with extinction (see The Hummingbird Society ) due to habitat loss, deforestation and environmental degradation. Nectar corridors could be seriously effected due to the loss of native flowering.  Good news is, we can help! The easiest thing we can do is to put up a nectar feeder from early March through November (see how to make hummingbird nectar ). Next, if you are willing to help more,  please reserve a small piece of your backyard garden by simply planting some native flowers. --Linda

Below is a list of native flowers that attract hummingbirds:
Acanthus Family - Desert Honeysuckle, Flame Acanthus, Chuparosa (Justicia californica), Mexican Honeysuckle (J. spicigera), Shrimp Plant (J. brandegeana)
Bignonia Family - Trumpet Creeper, Cross Vine, Desert Willow, Yellow Bells
Columbines - Aquilegia spp
Evening Primrose Family - Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), California fuchsia (Zauschneria californica), Fuchsias (Fuchsia spp.)
Honeysuckles - Lonicera spp., esp.Trumpet Honeysuckle (L. sempervirens)
Lobelias - Lobelia spp.(esp. Cardinal Flower) (L. cardinalis) and L. laxiflora
Mallow Family - Turk's Cap, Flowering Maple (Abutilon pictus), Hollyhock (as Alcea rosea), Hardy Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon
Mint Family - Salvias (Salvia spp.), Bee Balm (Monarda spp.), Giant Hyssop (Agastache spp.)
Morning Glories -  Ipomoea nil (esp. Cypress Vine), Red Morning Glory (Ipomoea coccinea, see photo below)
Penstemons - Penstemon spp., Scarlet Creeper, Bush Morning Glory

(Small Red Morning Glory)
Some useful links:
Ten ways to help hummingbird
The Hummingbird Society
Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory

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  1. Hum hum hum hummmmmmer!!!!!!

    Tweet tweet tweet ....Superrrrrr Tweeeeety!!!!

  2. Thanks Superrrrr Tweeeeeeeeeeety:D

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