Come early May, the hummingbirds arrive. In Minnesota we have one species — the Ruby-throated hummingbird. It’s all we need. In the early morning as I sit at my desk and look out at the hummingbird feeder, they come, one after the other, the females throat more dull than the male, taking a respite and sipping the homemade nectar with their long bills.
Sometimes as they zip through the sky, I mistake them for dragonflies. That is not long lived, though, once my eye follows the speedy sprite to its destination — nectar-producing flowers. Hovering and sipping, they move from flower to flower gobbling up the nectar.
On a sunny day, the emerald green back and brilliant red throat gleam in the sunshine, changing shades as they shift in the bright rays that light them up. These photos are of a female.
My one sadness is that, after all these years, I have never found a hummingbirds nest. I know they are around, but just can’t seem to locate the tiny home made of grasses, plant fibers, and spider webs. The interior is lined with plant down and the outside is camouflaged with lichen and dead leaves. No wonder I can’t find one! I have to look up also — they nest 10-20 feet above ground in trees and large shrubs.
Fun facts about ruby-throated hummingbird:
- Male shows up first in May to stake out feeding territories.
- Migrates to Eastern North America for the summer to breed.
- Only hummingbird species east of the Great Plains.
- Beat their wings 50 times/second.
- Leave at the end of September to go south. Males leave first, females and young follow in a couple weeks.
Enjoy your day!
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