Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Hummingbird


Several minutes after I took a picture of columbines in my yard, I settled down in my yard with my laptop and started to blog.

A few minutes had passed when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.

It was a hummingbird, a female ruby throated hummer (the only type of hummingbird found where I live in upstate New York).  But I had brought my phone (my camera) inside.  I was camera less! 

Sensing my non-ability to take its picture, the hummer visited several of my columbines, feeding just a few feet away from me, her long beak fitting the red-purple flowers so well.  I could almost see her swallow, as she hovered and picked out her next flower to feed on.  Her white belly was visible, as was a small line of glowing greenish feathers on her back.

But she wasn't through with her show.

She flew to a sapling on the edge of my yard, one apparently killed by the winter weather, a few feet away from me.  I could see her clearly as she perched on the sapling's thin branches. She settled down and started to preen herself with that long, thin beak.

She scratched herself with her foot, bringing it up past her wing to her head in a rapid motion.

And while all that happened, I watched, transfixed.

Then she flew up into a tree, hovering, not landing.  She returned to the sapling, perched, and then did feeding round two on the flowers.  I didn't dare move.  The bird fed and left.

Finally, my spouse came into our back yard.  I said, you have to wait, look what's going to happen! And of course, the bird never returned.

I went online and found out some facts about hummingbirds.  Apparently, they spend about 80% of their lives perched - the hovering in midair that they are famous for is energy intensive, and they can only do that for a few minutes at a time.

And they preen just as I saw "my" little hummingbird do.

I haven't seen many hummingbirds in my life.  This one, I'll never forget.


  1. I love to watch them in the yard, but getting photos with a regular camera is pretty difficult. I saw a wonderful program on Nature about them and it was mesmerizing.

  2. I normally have quite a few RTHs in my yard during spring and summer but there have only been a few this year. I'm not sure what I should attribute the decline to, but it is disappointing. As you so rightly point out, they are a joy to observe and to have around.

  3. Isn't that always the way? The amazing thing happens when the camera is out of reach.

  4. Very nice. We don't have that in my yard.


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