Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Recalls

I am recalling sweet moments with hummingbirds in my gardens. It is wet and cold outside and these little guys help make me feel warmer inside. They cannot bear much cold, so hopefully most are in the deep south en route to their winter destinations.

There is always a mutual stare when birding. Migration is well under way for the little Ruby-throated Hummingbird and I trust this juvenile is flying along the ridges of the Appalachians, enjoying blooms of a Texas garden or even nearing Mexico by now. I hope he was not held up by the amazing winds and rains of last week. The Flower Hill Farm residents have been gone since mid September, but there have been many migrating hummers feeding on the remaining flowers. I have not seen any of late though, so I imagine North Carolina and further south gardens are enjoying more birds in their gardens.

Biologist are still scratching their heads in trying to understand the over land migration paths and winter destinations of hummingbirds. Ruby-throated hummers have their own unique habits and have successfully eluded the authorities for years. 

That feels better! 

Now for some of that sweet Salvia I saw in the terrace garden!

It is helpful for the Hummingbirds that gardeners offer late blooms to aid in their migration. They do not fly very high so as to see the feeding grounds below. . . and it is colder higher up. If they get to know your garden they will return year after year.

Blooms with tubular corollas are a favorite, with the color red being most exciting, though hummers will go to any color flower . . .  as long as there are nectar holders within. 

Hmm! . . .  this Fuchsia bloom . . . 

draws me deeply! I have seen the hummingbirds wearing these florets a few times. It happens that the flower is ready to fall just at the moment the hummer comes in for a drink. They look funny wearing the flower caps on their bills!

Jewelweed Impatiens biflora is a favorite and important food so be sure to let some grow if you have room. 

I hope you are enjoying seeing many migrating hummers! I do so miss seeing them here in the gardens. I can look back for awhile, for I have many photos of their life here this summer. I will look forward to their return . . .  when Lilacs and Comfrey bloom again. 
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