Thursday, August 08, 2013

Hovering Birds

Pretty excited about this purchase:

Seeing all the hummingbirds at the inlaw's feeder last week had the idea fresh in our minds, then a few days later coming across low-low prices for a feeder and nectar concentrate powder...why not?

Put it up on Saturday, then added cord to lower it down on Sunday so it wasn't as hidden under the patio roof, saw our first hummer on Monday.
Not bad.

Each day the sightings increase, which is great.

What have I learned from Gurgle about these tiny wonders?

The nectar is not their main food--they use it like an energy drink to improve their hunting of insects.
They eat mosquitos and other little bugs, and even snatch them out of spider webs. Yoink!
Many species migrate all the way to Panama for the winter--some even taking the 20+ hour over-the-gulf route.
The only bird that can fly in reverse, and that can hover without help from the wind.
Average weight is around 3 grams.
Migrating hummers will visit the same feeders on the route, often on the same day of the year, so they have good memories.
They are very territorial with feeders, chasing away others of their kind as well as bees and anything else hanging around. For all I know, we only have the one visitor so far--I saw a quick battle today.
Tolerate humans rather well, as can be seen on YouTube videos of people with small feeders in their mouths.

My ultimate goal is to get some serious pictures of them.
Hang a backdrop, put some of my radio-triggered flash units on stands near the feeder, pre-focused DSLR on tripod also nearby, trigger shutter using IR remote from inside the house.
Piece of cake? Hope so.

Probably give it a shot in September when it isn't 10,000 degrees and we have more traffic at the feeder so I'm not peeking through the blinds for hours on end with my batteries draining away.

1 comment:

Keith Alan K said...

UPDATE: I learned that the sugar-water "nectar" can spoil in our Texas heat and smaller batches with excess in the fridge is a smart way to go.
So the other day I brought the feeder inside to dump it's contents and make a new batch, and then happened to spot what is probably "our" hummer arrive and do a serious search all around where the feeder had just been.

Is it wrong to feel proud for visibly confusing a tiny bird?
Confirmation that they are VERY smart little suckers.
It was SO obvious that he was all "WTF ??? It was right here!!"