Monday, September 12, 2011

Hummingbirds again about to migrate

Bottlebrush provides a fine nectar

It is that time again as you probably have noticed, if you live in Southeast Texas. Hummingbirds are everywhere there are flowers. Yes, you are so right! Food is available only in cultivated areas, like gardens and homes. This is the reason I write this article. These birds need our help to get ready to migrate across the big pond. There is very little food available for them this year. So far, I have put out three feeders and plan to put out two more in my yard, spread out enough to allow "thieves" to get away with some. Yes, all food "belongs" to the resident bird of the area, which may include two neighbors' homes.  Possession is the law with these birds. Territory is protected judiciously and ferociously.
Lickn her chops to get all the leftover nectar on her proboscis from the bush she just visited 
Personally, I can be entertained for hours by these amazing creatures. The expend so much energy fighting each other, that in the end you wonder how they can possibly be storing up energy to ride the north winds to Central America and Mexico later this month.
Keeping cool in this heat is no easy task but time out for a rest!
 This year, 5-8 birds are in my little plot here in The Woodlands. I expect even more in the days ahead. These are constantly bickering and fighting. They will fly within a few inches of my head or arm when I am watching them on the back deck. I can feel the air as one passes and hear them both and at times, four of five of them with their battle cries.  I have been hoping to get a photo of two of them dueling face to face suspended by their wings in mid-air, chirping gallantly, hoping to run off the other. I have not managed that yet but came very close to capturing the scene this morning.
At times, everyone needs some rest and personal hygiene 
Even so, the birds manage to get food and water. A splash of water with the sprinkler is received very enthusiastically. They love to get a drink off of leaves when a bush or tree is covered in water. They also love to take a bath in a very small water container. I use one that was designed for that purpose. It sits in a rod three feet tall that is in the ground under the trees.
From every angle, every drop is important
They are very nimble in their ability to reach difficult spots
What was that?!!! exclaims the Tufted Titmouse 
Other birds and creatures don't seem much affected by this hullabaloo but watching close, there are cases where others are annoyed by the hummingbirds.
Hey you! Keep your act away from me! That is dangerous!!!!! This is MY space. 
It was clear that this exchange of words was due in part from a flyby.
Hey bud! You can eat on your side. I am taking care of the ants on mine!
At the feeder, everyone gets a drink sooner or later. This lizard likes the idea of the ants on the feeder, but the birds could care less.

Man your battle stations!!
And there will be no peace!

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