Friday, June 10, 2011

Hummingbirds

The hummingbirds who live near me continue to delight and fascinate me, probably to the annoyance of all my houseguests. I can only hope they are at least momentarily amused by the tiny birds. I can sit by my back window and watch them all day, as they feed every 10 minutes or so. They never seem to go too far.

Here in Northern California, Anna's Hummingbirds are the only hummers that stay the winter. There are enough flowers and insects year-round to keep them from going hungry. In my yard, they visit my feeder as well as my fuchsias, red-hot poker (Kniphophia), coral bells, and other flowers. Hummingbirds are picky and I have to be careful to keep the feeder very clean - no dirty sugar water for these guys!

They are really hard to photograph. This is the female:

Anna's Hummingbirds


And this is a sadly unfocused photo of the male:

Anna's Hummingbirds


Check out a google image search for Anna's Hummingbirds to see much better photos of their amazing iridescent hot pink head feathers.

They make a surprising amount of noise for tiny birds, a dry, high pitched chirping noise. And of course they sound like giant bumblebees while flying - if you are near enough to hear it. They fight over the feeder, chasing away other birds. I think I only have two right now, but earlier this spring I did find a tiny hummingbird nest in my giant bamboo:

Anna's Hummingbirds


The nests are made out of cobwebs and grass and tiny twigs. Yes, cobwebs: I watched mama hummingbird collect them. I'm not sure what happened - whether there were babies or not. Still, I will keep watching.

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