Summer Bird Study – Hummingbirds

Hummingbird Feeder and Potted Plants
This is our busiest hummingbird feeder. They also like the flowers in the pots.

We love hummingbirds. I think we pay more attention to the hummingbirds in our yard than any other bird. They are constantly at our feeders, in our garden flowers, and flying around…front yard and backyard.

There are at least three in our yard at all times, competing for the feeders and flying fast. They sit in the trees and chirp at us when we eat dinner on the back deck. They are not afraid of us when we are out in the backyard and frequently will fly right up by us as we work in the yard.

They are year round residents.

What aspect did we focus on this time in our hummingbird study as part of the More Nature Study Book #4 Hummingbird Challenge? We started off asking questions about their feathers and how in a certain light they are very green and in then in another light they are bright red. What makes them iridescent? But then we got side-tracked asking why the Anna’s hummingbird chases the Black Headed Grosbeaks out of the seed feeders. I mean they are aggressively chasing them far out of the yard. Our field guide says they defend a 1/4 acre territory. We haven’t found the concrete answer to our questions yet but we have some guesses.

Also, we were fascinated this week by one hummingbird in particular. We call him “Flutter”. He has a unusual sound to his flying. Most of the birds have the familiar “hum” to their wings and the Anna’s Hummingbird make a clicking sound as well. But Flutter sounds like he has a bum wing…like it is not beating like the other birds. It sounds like a fluttering instead of a humming, if that makes sense. We have yet to catch him with the camera because our thought is that if we can take a photo and take a look at his wing shape, maybe he has some sort of injury.

One last thing to relate about our hummingbirds this week. I was out in the yard using the hose to water a few of the bushes since it has been extremely hot and dry. I had the hose in a fine sort of mist and in the shape of an arc. Well, a hummingbird decided that it was the perfect place to fly in and out as he took a bath! It was amazing to watch and I am hoping I get to see it again some day. Our hummingbirds are quite comfortable with us right now and they will fly right up behind you and visit the feeder even if you are inches from them.

Comments

  1. I’m so jealous of your hummingbirds! I’ve had my feeder filled and repeatedly cleaned out and refilled since April and I’ve only seen 1 hummingbird 1 time. Last summer we had hummers from early summer until migration (I live in central IL) in mid September. Do you have any idea why they didn’t return this year? We are all very disappointed!

  2. You could try doing some research here:
    http://www.learner.org/jnorth/humm/index.html

    So sad about your hummingbirds.

  3. How fun that would be to see that little hummer taking a bath!!!

  4. Finally, a few days ago the hummingbirds showed up! I’m so glad I continued to keep the feeder filled with fresh sugar water. We even been treated to some fights when 3 hummers were interested in the feeder at the same time. We won’t have them as long as we did last summer but at least we’ll be able to enjoy them for about 6 weeks!

    I wonder if the extreme drought we’ve been experiencing has affected the hummingbirds. We’ve seen virtually no butterflies on our butterfly bush either. :(

  5. That would be nice to have hummingbirds year round. What a beautiful memory to have re: the hummingbird taking a bath.

    Here’s the link to what we did for our hummingbird study this past week: http://handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com/2012/07/summer-bird-study-hummingbirds.html

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