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Hummingbird Watch

Updated on April 26, 2012

Ruby Red-Throated Hummingbirds at my feeder

I did not have to go to the Rockport Hummingbird Festival... the hummingbirds came to my kitchen door!
I did not have to go to the Rockport Hummingbird Festival... the hummingbirds came to my kitchen door! | Source

A busy buzz of birds

I watched in awe from my kitchen door at the number of hummingbirds lapping it up at two of my feeders. Against a gradually darkening sky, I marveled at these feisty flying jewels competing for nectar. As the wind picked up and the sky growled with clouds, the trees breathed a sigh of relief at the prospect of a little more rain. More and more it sounded like a thunderstorm approaching. With a severe drought in Texas and scorched earth from fires raging through the state, the prospect of rain is greatly uplifting. As many neighboring states have been overwhelmed with water from hurricanes and tropical storms surging up the Eastern seaboard, states like Texas, New Mexico and Arizona have been thirsting for rain, the ground literally cracking up!

Imagine my sheer delight to see how the numbers of hummingbirds have swelled since I began feeding them during their migrations seven or eight years ago. As these fairylike but robust little creatures zip, dart and hover around the feeders for their nectar, they chirrup and chase to gain access. I learned only yesterday (thank you, Facebook), that it is the position of their tail feathers that creates the loud whirring noises. I was interested to see that a juvenile male, which had the beginnings of its bright ruby patch at his throat, commanded one entire feeder, whilst the other feeder was crowded with at least six females and juveniles at a time. This is the first time my feeder has attracted such a crowd. There were umpteen birds flying up into the tree overhead and a small distance away. Up and down they zipped and darted, trying to gain control of who fed where! As they shot up and up like bright bullets, my eyes were distracted by a V-formation of geese winging their way south, their calls ringing crisp and clear in my ears as they flew overhead.

Corpus Christi is part of the Central Flyway for birds migrating from North to South America and vice-versa during fall and spring. The hummingbirds need to fatten themselves up before their flight to Central America, across the Gulf of Mexico. The brave little hummers need to gain about 25-40% of their body weight in order to fly non-stop for about 500 miles – a trip that will take them about 20 hours of uninterrupted flying time. It is believed that each bird follows the same path their whole lives - and they can live up to about nine years.

It seems that the storm has passed us by! Perhaps it will rain tomorrow. I look forward to waking and watching these resolute little feathered friends vying for the prime spot at the feeder as they lick up to 13 times per second, with wings beating about 53 times a second! Sometimes I have been lucky enough to witness a male’s courtship display to females that enter their territory. With a U-shaped dive that starts from as high as 50 feet above the female, he loops around and then shifts to fast ziggidy-zaggedy flights while facing her! It is fascinating to watch these tiny birds zip around and then hang motionless in midair, wing beats barely noticeable due to their speed, as they look this way and that for competitors. I wish I had the kind of camera that could capture their activity with clarity, but my eyes and memory will have to do so for me! With hummingbirds on both sides of my apartment, and the pair of cardinals that have taken up residence nearby for the last two years and which are grateful for my steady supply of seeds, I am most content to have these angels living outside my walls and visiting regularly. They are music to my ears and comfort to my spirit.


Ruby Red-Throated Hummingbirds at Feeder

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    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 4 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi sen.sush23: Thank you kindly for your lovely comments. These birds are fascinating to me and I can watch them for hours. I would have to find out more about the birds in India... I was unaware of those also. :) I greatly appreciate your votes and sharing - Thank You.

    • sen.sush23 profile image

      Sushmita 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Suelynn, this is just so beautiful and informative. In our earlier house, we used to see hummingbirds- they are quite common in India- and since we had a garden full of sweet flowers- it was such a pleasure to watch the little things flap their wing while they looted the nectar. I am however quite ignorant as to their genus etc. I must come back to learn more from you. Voted up and sharing.

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 4 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Thank you so much for saying, Peggy W. I greatly appreciate your votes. :) I would LOVE to plant a hummingbird garden and keep the birds flitting from one bush to another. Of course, the feeders keep the birds at a particular spot and they take up residence for a while as they commandeer the feeder. It's just fascinating. :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I actually see hummingbirds in our yard attracted to our flowering plants. They are fun to watch! In a flash...they zip away...so it is a transitory pleasure unless one has an active hummingbird feeder such as you have. I enjoyed your hub. Up and interesting votes.

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 4 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Mary615: So sorry you don't have Hummers around your area. Perhaps if you keep a supply of sugar water available, it just may attract some. :) Thank you so much for your votes and sharing - they are greatly appreciated.

      Hi Debbiepinkston: Thank you so much for your comments. :)))

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 4 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      How awesome! Thank you for sharing!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I miss seeing the Hummingbird. Some people around here (S. Fl.) says they have them in their yard, but I've never seen one here. We had lots of them in Ga.

      Great Hub. I voted it UP, and will share.

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Thanks so much for your super comments, Bridalletter. :) I also do sugar water and it is wise to have blinds at the windows so they know they can't fly through. Bird strikes do happen though. I'm so glad the hummers are doing well. :) Good to meet you.

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      I watch mine daily, feeding them white sugar water, none of that icky red stuff. From tax day til I don't see them anymore for Missouri. Those ruby throats defend so hard, we had a hummer accident this year. Poor things chased each other right into the glass door. Knocked one silly for a while. When he saw me coming toward him, he took off like a plane down a runway. The other one didn't hurt himself, he flew away quickly. They are both doing well today. Love the hub!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Bravewarrior: I'm so glad you enjoy hummingbirds and butterflies. I would LOVE to see them dance in your sprinkler - it sounds ethereal. :) I totally agree that they are truly amazing. Your comments about Mother Nature's formidable beings is spot on and I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you so much for your feedback and appreciation - it means a lot to me. I love when people connect from a deep place through expressing joy and gratitude.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Awesome, Suelynn! I love hummingbirds. Every now and then, if I'm out early enough in the morning, I'll see them dance in my sprinkler. I try to incorporate plants into my landscape that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Hummingbirds are such amazing creatures!

      I had no idea of the migration habits, tho! What a trek for such a tiny being! One of Mother Nature's most formidable beings, I'd say!

      Thank you for sharing and for the education! Now they will forever be even more amazing when they grace me with their presence!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Mythicalstorm273: Thank you for dropping in. Cats are a problem for birdfeeders... I have mine on shepherd hooks which works quite well. I also have a hanging bracket on the wall at my upstairs window and the hummers are perfectly safe up there. :) It sure is fabulous to watch them. Thanks for sharing your experiences and I appreciate all your comments.

    • mythicalstorm273 profile image

      mythicalstorm273 5 years ago

      I love watching hummingbirds. My mom didn't have any birds at our house for years because we had outdoor cats. When the cats finally were gone we started seeing birds. My mom put out hummingbird feeders for 2 or 3 years and we loved watching them, but then we stopped putting them out. Your experiences with hummingbirds are very nice and a great reminder.

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Thanks so much, Julie DeNeen. :) They sure are favorites.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      Hummingbirds are one of my favorites! Great job :)

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Tillsontitan: Thank you for your fabulous comments and I so appreciate the votes. :) I can spend hours watching the hummingbirds - they are so special. ?

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      So beautifully written! I'm a big fan of hummingbird so this hub is a treat. You've included some good facts and I like how you compared them to angels. Your photos are great too.

      Voted up, awesome and interesting.

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Vinaya Ghimire, thank you so much for saying. I got lucky and had a constant stream of hummers at the feeder. Unfortunately my camera has a slight delay time between clicking and taking, so I generally lose out. I'm sure it has to do with the settings but I have been so busy I haven't had that much time to figure it all out. I so appreciate you stopping by and I'm grateful for your feedback. :)

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I have never been able to click humming bird. I loved your photo.

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Teresa Coppens: Thank you so much for saying. What hummingbirds do you get in Ontario? I'm fascinated... isn't nature absolutely thrilling? Thank you so much for reading and commenting. :)

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Beautiful hub Suelynn. Weigalea flowers in my garden attract many hummingbirds although I use feeders to see them closer. It's amazing their tiny bodies can manage such a long migration route 9 times or more!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      LOL, Hyph! Better nature than a derivative! If they need your feeders they will come. I have put feeders out for quite a few years now and this last year, got lucky and caught part of the migration. Fall seems busier than Spring. Don't give up! :)

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      They are so sweet. I love to see the little guys dart about and they don't know they are tiny and fragile. You received a great gift when they chose your feeder. Mine have only made one appearance so far. i suppose the real flowers are too tempting right now. They do not need my handouts. lol

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Denise Handlon, what a wonderful experience! They are so awesome to watch, grace, speed, beauty all in a zippity bundle... Great! :) Thanks for sharing with me.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I sat out on a plaza in CA one afternoon and this hummingbird flew above me and stayed there for about 10 minutes. It was awesome!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi AudreyHowitt, you will get so much enjoyment from it - I highly recommend it! :)

      Denise Handlon: Thank you for your kind words and I so appreciate your vote! Hummingbirds fascinate me - I can watch them for hours and be totally unaware of time passing! :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I love hummingbirds. They are so awesome to watch. What a great hub and photos! Thanks for sharing. Rated up.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Your hub reminds me how much I want a hummingbird feeder!! Thank you!

    • Suelynn profile image
      Author

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Angela P: They are totally fascinating and I was thrilled that I had so many hummers visiting my feeders that weekend. I'm glad you enjoyed my offering and thank you for your lovely feedback. :)

    • angela p profile image

      angela p 5 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      I love hummingbirds. We have a few that visit our feeders but nothing like you have. They are so mystical to me. Enjoyed reading your hub and watching your video. Great photo too.

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Jeannieinabottle,

      Couldn't you just wiggle your nose and get them to visit?

      I am wondering whether they could get up to the 15th floor, I have watched them do the most amazing aerial flight patterns and also put a hummer feeder at my upstairs window (that was such fun to watch) but only a second storey! You're welcome to watch the video anytime and thank you for doing so! :) They are just precious to watch.

      Lovely to meet you, Jeannie!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I just love hummingbirds. Thanks for sharing your video and photo. I live on the 15th floor in an apartment without a balcony, so I will just have to check out your hub whenever I want to see hummingbirds. :-)

    • Suelynn profile image
      Author

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Sweetie... it's WONDERFUL to see your post here! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and to leave a comment. Lots of love to you and thank you for your kind remarks, as always. I look forward to hearing from you - I may just give you a call soon.

      Lots of Love Eida. :)

    • profile image

      Eida Schneiderman 5 years ago

      Hi Sweetie

      This is your old friend from the southernmost point in Africa - on this very cold day. I have read thru your articles and as always have found everything most interesting. You have always had a gift with your writing. LOL, take care (as we say down here) think of you often. Will pen you a few lines soon.

    • Suelynn profile image
      Author

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Neil Sperling, thank you so much for saying. I am transfixed watching them. I had uploaded a video then found the videos I WANTED to upload, so I may fix that soon. This is SUCH fun and I LOVE to share things like this. It's totally dynamic. I appreciate your input greatly.

      Thank you, my Friend.

      Hugs back atcha (you're pretty much like me...)

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Suelynn - I love watching humming birds - they are amazing the way they maneuver around.

      nice hub....

      Hugs

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Thank you for saying, Zelda. What hummingbirds do you have around your neck of the woods? They are totally fascinating to watch...

    • profile image

      Zelda 5 years ago

      I loved the article, I find hummingbirds beautiful and fascinating :)

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Thank you for your comment, Melis Ann, you're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

    • Melis Ann profile image

      Melis Ann 5 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

      I love learning about bird watching - it is very fascinating! Thanks for the info.