Sunday, 22 May 2011

Flowers and hummingbirds

I love this season. The lilacs are just bursting. The iris are beautiful, with bees burying their heads in their blossoms. The delightful hummingbirds are bopping about.

Now, the males are the ones so often photographed, with their bright red chins, but the female's emerald green is a sight to behold, too.

I have included a photo of a hummingbird moth. I haven't seen one here, yet, but once the sweet william blossom, I'm sure they will be about!
Pretty little female at the restaurant
in Algonquin Park Arowhon Lodge

At the very bottom of this post is a repost of information on hummingbirds and feeding protocol, just in case. Cleaning their feeders is crucial, using vinegar and some rice grains.  

Male at my old feeder

Hummingbird moth
I videotaped it, too!

Do you know how hard they are to photograph? It takes practice and many, many shots. Glad to have digital options now!

Here is a video of hummingbird courtship. And what to do if they get sick.(Other than do no harm!)

My quirky feeder shaped like a whisky bottle


  • Ruby-throated hummingbird
  • 60 - 80 wing beats per second
  • must feed every 10 - 5 minutes
  • weighs about 3 grams
  • measures about 9 cm (3 1/2")
  • Males have a red throat
  • A small bird of the Trochilidae family
  • Round in S. Canada to the Gulf States
  • Winters in Mexico & Central America
  • Males fly back and forth like a pendulum in an arc,
  • Double their weight in preparation for migration.
  • Attracted by bee balm, hollyhock, hibiscus, trumpet honeysuckle, clematis, impatiens, phlox and fuchsias; aphids, small insects, spiders.
  • As she builds her nest, over a week, and lines it with soft materials.
  • the female makes 150 trips for materials: twigs, grass, feathers, spider webs, pieces of lichen
  • She usually lays two eggs, which incubate 12 - 20 days.
  • They are fed pre-digested food.
  • After two weeks they can be left alone over night.
  • After 17 days, the hen feeds them, but leaves them still hungry.
  • The hen flies above them, with bits of food, to encourage them to become more independent. (Rather like teaching a kid to drive the car!)

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

  • 1 part sugar/4 parts water
  • Boil the mixture for 5 minutes to kill bacteria
  • Thoroughly clean the feeder by rinsing with one part white vinegar to four parts water.
  • Do this weekly after the feeder is up and going, especially in hot weather.
  • Check to see if the nectar is cloudy, which could mean (deadly) bacteria.
  • Let cool and store excess in refrigerator until ready to use.
  • If the feeder is dirty, add a few grains of dry rice to the vinegar solution to help scrub it clean, as an abrasive.
  • Rinse out the vinegar wash by rinsing three times with clear, warm water before refilling with sugar solution.
  • Two females were in disagreement!
  • Do not add food coloring, honey (which ferments), or artificial sweetener, which has no nutritional value.
National Audubon Society brochure (PDF)

Now, lest you think we are homefree to summer, the temperature in this May 31st, 2009 video was 4 C. May Muskoka Snow & Hummingbirds ! 


eileeninmd said...

great captures, the hummingbirds are wonderful. Springtime is a beautiful time of year.

Kay said...

I wish we could have hummingbirds in Hawaii. Hmmm... maybe we'll get to see some on our Yellowstone trip? You can never tell.

Olga said...

Yes, I do know how hard it is to snap a picture of a hummingbird. Sometimes I actually wonder if they eat at all--seems they spend most of the time chasing each other away from the feeders.

Krissy Brady, Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour said...

Stunning photos! I love this time of year too--luckily this winter seemed to fly by, and I'm looking forward to the amazing weather that is starting to surround us--even the rainy days. :)