Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake
Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hummer Time

July 16, 2015


Hummer Time

The Refuge Manager, Bill, lets me feed birds. I had a hummingbird buzz me one morning, so I ordered a hummingbird feeder. In a few days, I was watching a male black-chinned hummingbird come to the feeder early in the morning and again in the evening. I was never able to get pictures of him, because he snuck in and only stayed a few seconds at a time. I only had that one  bird until about 11 days ago. Then, right after my friend, Bob, visited and helped me get the shade to work, I saw a hummingbird on one of the ropes that holds it down.


Broad-tailed hummingbird through the screen

That hummingbird was a broad-tailed male and I saw him and the black-chinned interact a few times. The broad-tailed would often sit around in the evening so I could easily get his picture from the kitchen window. But the black-chinned is impossible to get a picture of.  He comes in infrequently, at various times, and only stays a few seconds. When I lived in the Texas Hill Country, black-chinned hummers were much easier to photograph. 

The feeder is only a few feet away from one of my kitchen windows. I realized I can pull both the window and screen back and have a perfect blind out of two windows. The birds love to sit on the first rope to the shade which is out my sink window, or come to the feeder and use it or sit on a wire nearby, which is out my window by the stove. So, if I'm in the house, entering data or cooking/cleaning up, I end up spending time getting distracted with the hummers. And, of course, I have lots more fly and mosquito visitors.

Over a week ago, I saw a pair of broad-tailed hummers that were acting like mates. Then I realized that one was an immature male. Then a rufous hummer showed up while the black-chinned disappeared.


Male broad-tailed showing off his rosy gorget


An immature broad-tailed just starting to grow his gorget feathers


Back view of a broad-tailed

Last Thursday, a horde of broad-tailed hummers showed up and I probably lost an hour of work time because I couldn't tear myself away from the feeder blind in the corner of my kitchen . I think there are at least nine of them and the one rufus. They are the males on the way south, since they have done the hard job of impregnating the females and are ready for a vacation.


A few of at least nine broad-tailed hummers that just arrived

The rufus has turned into a despot and often tries to drive everyone else away. 


The chaser

But he masks his bad personality with a sweet expression

The rufus on the feeder

His gorget looks orange in the sunlight
  
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