Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hummingbirds and Grandmothers Migrating South

Like many birds, and some butterflies, I have headed south for a spell but will be back long before the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds featured below reach their overwintering sites in southern Mexico and northern Panama. Some individual Ruby-throated hummers may decide it is best to spend the winter along the Gulf Coast or the Outer Banks of North Carolina . . . perhaps they are not up to making the longer journey and their survival will depend on how deeply the winter sets in. 

Going back to this past spring at Flower Hill Farm . . . a solitary male Ruby-throated Hummingbird arrives ahead of the female . . . he will tirelessly defend his territory from other males. After he mates, he is fancy-free in the gardens the entire spring and summer, for he does not lift a feather to help his partner in the raising of their young.

As early as mid July or August, the adults depart on their lone journey south . . . weeks before their juvenile hummingbirds take leave of the gardens. Our terrace garden offers a good supply of nectar to fuel their humming motor-motion and there is an abundance of insects, within the gardens and surrounding fields, to build up the needed fat in their tiny bodies . . . so important in enabling them to successfully make the long trip south.

As the daylight hours shrink in September, something alerts the immature hummingbirds to begin their southward trek. Off on an adventure never known, they may repeat it year after year throughout their lives.

One last sip for the trip . . . 

then off they go. 

Safe Travels little Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. We look forward to your return. 

I will be returning to a more normal posting routine very soon. It has been a joy to walk the beaches of North Truro, attend painting workshops and then travel south to hold my precious grandson.

Happy Belated Equinox to you all. 

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