May 22, 2013
Written by Jack Sanders
Thursday, 19 August 2010 12:20
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds continue to fascinate readers — no species generates as many comments. Recent columns mentioning hummingbirds have prompted several observations.
Barbara Wong of Darien writes, “Saturday, a female hummingbird at the feeder had been confronting a yellow jacket at a nearly empty feeder. I cleaned and filled the feeder, and had just re-hung it at eye level 18 inches away when a female came and began drinking. I froze. The bird left the feeder three separate times to hover directly facing me, eye to eye, only six inches from my eyes! I had to suppress flinching.
“She did not chatter at all, as she might have if she were flying past. She was not as round as the female seen in early summer, so she may be a baby. At such close range, she was smaller than I expected. She may have been so stimulated by battling the wasp that she was still defending nectar when I came out.”
Barbara, who has been tracking hummingbirds for 10 years, finds that “My male and female hummers this year have taken 99% of their nectar from a feeder rather than from the butterfly bush next to it. In other years the feeder vs. butterfly bush varies as the season goes on, but is always in the 85% to 99% range. Guess I make tasty nectar!
“Most of the season more than three quarters of the sightings are female. Beginning about 10 days ago, males are at the feeder at least as often as females. I think I had one male, one female till the babies arrived; now have at least one additional small, exploring female, and an additional male.”
“I was interested in your comment that you get few males at your Perky Pet feeders,” writes Jane Neighbors of Ridgefield. “I haven’t done a count, but we get lots of them, and certainly lots of females.
“We have only two Perky Pets out this year. One is in front of the house and one in the rear. The rear one we can see from our breakfast area, which looks out on a patio where there are chairs and tables right outside the window. A few days ago, as we were eating, a male came to the feeder and sucked down some nectar. Then he flew about 10 feet and perched on the back of a chair. He sat there, moving his head to the right and back for several minutes as if showing off his ruby throat for us. After a few minutes, he flew back to the feeder and ate some more, then returned to the chair for another throat display. After his next meal, he flew away.”
Gary Trask of Cross River, says, “Your article on hummers reads like it was written about our yard. I thought we had a slow beginning, but we also are cooking two cups a day now. Our three feeders hold a cup each. We do occasionally have a male drinking but mostly just sit on a branch nearby. I do remember last Labor Day they all but disappeared. Strange!”
Stratford, where the Housatonic River meets Long Island Sound, has long been a birding hotspot in Connecticut. The past couple of weeks have added to its reputation. A White-tailed Kite, a bird of prey normally found in the Southwest, has been hanging around since Aug. 1 and was still there Sunday.
“This is the first sighting in Connecticut and one of only two that we know of from New England,” said Frank Gallo, Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center associate director.
The White-tailed Kite normally occurs in the West and Southwestern continental U.S.; it can be found year-round in Mexico, California, along the east coast of Texas and the tip of Florida. In winter it may fly as far north as Washington State.
And last week, a Brown Pelican, common in the South but very rare here, was spotted at Stratford.
Hawk Identification Tutorial with Bedford Audubon’s Hawk Counter Arthur W. Green, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2 to 3:30 p.m., Westmoreland Sanctuary, 260 Chestnut Ridge Road, Bedford Corners, N.Y., 914-666-8448, bedfordaudubon.org
Fall Migration at Chestnut Ridge Hawk Watch, bring binoculars, Saturday, Sept. 18, 9 to 11:30 a.m., Bedford Audubon at Arthur Butler Sanctuary, Chestnut Ridge Road, Bedford Corners, 914-666-8448, bedfordaudubon.org
Breakfast with the Hawks with Hawk Counter Arthur W. Green, and Naturalist Adam Zorn Sunday, Sept. 19, at 8 a.m. at Chestnut Ridge Hawk Watch Arthur Butler Sanctuary, 261 Chestnut Ridge Road, Bedford Corners, 914-666-8448. bedfordaudubon.org.
Copyright 2010 by Jack Sanders. Send sightings or comments to: jackfsanders [at sign] yahoo.com, or to Bird Notes, Box 1019, Ridgefield, CT 06877; or call 203-438-1183, extension BIRD (2473), and leave a message with your report, spelling your first and last names and telling us your town. If you need help identifying a bird, try your local nature center. If you find an injured bird, call wildlife rehabilitator Darlene Wimbrow of Redding, 203-438-0618, Wildlife in Crisis of Weston, 203-544-9913, or Wild Wings of Greenwich, 203-637-9822. The columnist’s website is www. sandersbooks. com.
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