The 09 hummingbird season is rapidly winding down as the tiny guys fatten up for the looooooooooooong flight to Central/South America which is 2-3000 miles! Incredible for a bird 3 1/2 inches long! You often hear the well meaning but wrong advice, especially around hardware stores that sell hummingbird supplies, that feeders should be taken down in mid Sept. as if this will force the birds to migrate or cause them to linger and be caught and killed by a fall freeze. Actually, feeders should be left up to mid Oct. to provide birds migrating from the north a place to feed as they pass by headed south.
Bird migration is under hormone control and has nothing to do with available food supplies. A small light sensitive area of the brain, called the Pineal body for its resemblance to a pine cone, serves as a migration "clock" . Sensitive to light, the pineal body triggers the urge to migrate as daylight hours shorten as fall approaches. For those with feeders up, now is a good time to up the sugar concentration a bit ( 3:1 instead of 4:1) to help them put on wt.
I decided to experiment with my light setup for fun. Of course they kept coming in to feed (with a puzzled look on their little faces) so I continued to shoot. I'm seeing mostly females at present. Dunno where the males are hiding. Here are a few of the better ones. If some look a little strange it's because the lights were outa position.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
A few more photos of juvenile (delinquent?) hummingbirds. This is a young bird hatched this summer. As mentioned in the following post, young males have a "speckled" throat that is gradually replaced by the flaming red color that gives the bird their name. The throat feathers are minute to say the least and can appear black, brown, yellow or red depending on the angle of the light. This male has two or three red feathers showing. He will have the full characteristic flaming red throat when he returns next spring.