Monday, June 27, 2005


Aerial acrobatics. A blur in a rapid ascent of more than 100 feet, an instantaneous reciprocal dive ... pyhew ... pyhew. Spectacular mating display or territorial defense? Damned if I know but the activity around the hummingbird feeders is getting interesting.

There are, by my count, three little 'guys' now. I use 'guys' in the most generic sense (as in "you guys better knock it off back there - don't make me stop this car"). In all likelihood, given the difficulty we're having identifying them (even with two fieldbooks and the internet at our disposal), all three are females. At this point we surmise two Black-chinned and one Caliope but as they're all still quite skittish (hence no pics) it's really difficult to get a good look at their wings and tails to help with the identification. Hopefully they'll begin to relax at some point.

It's been about four weeks since I saw one fruitlessly attempting to extract nectar from one of the rose bushes outside my office window. When we first moved here six summers ago, I put out feeders but they yielded nothing. Encouraged by my sighting, Mr. CJ and I put three feeders out as well as planting columbine, delphinium and bee balm in an effort to attract them. One within the first week, a second after about 10 days and by the third week one more and gosh are these 'guys' voracious feeders but I guess if we were running marathons at the clip of a 60-yard dash we would be as well.

The only instance in which one of the hummingbirds appeared unconcerned with our presence was last Saturday evening when we brought the feeders in for their cleaning and replenishing. One hummer let Mr. CJ know that 'he' had not been finished feeding for the night as it buzzed round and round the lone string, then Mr. CJ's head and back again. We quickly replaced the feeders and he hit it one more time before heading off for the night.

The '2-second delay' on my digital just won't do for getting shots of these guys. I may have to resort to buying film and using my 'real' camera - I will post photos before summer's end.

Well, here's a pic of our first Delphinium to tide you over: