They also spend time at the feeder on the deck, near chairs, where they sometimes fight with each other, and also in the flower garden, where they like the nectar from the Maltese cross, columbines, lilies, nasturtiums, and catmint, and don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that we are gardening nearby (well, my mother keeps gardening while I stop quietly to watch).
It is amazing to see the birds stop short exactly in front of a feeder or flower, hover as long as they need, or fly backwards.
They like to sit, and possibly nest, in a spruce tree just north of our house, a few feet away from our dining room window.
I hope that this year I’ll be able to find a nest and watch the nestlings grow and fledge.
Read on and enjoy a variety of interesting information about hummingbirds.
This is one of essays I wrote for the Doug Tarry Young Ornithologists’ Workshop.Here are some facts I learned about hummingbirds while reading Sylvia Legris’s ‘Hummingbird’ triptych.I learned that hummingbirds’ hearts are in relative terms the largest hearts of any animal (making up 2.5% of its weight), that this same heart beats 250 times a minute, that their reproductive organs shrink to a small fraction of their usual size when not in use, that they’re attracted to the colour red, that they have eyelashes and massive pectoral muscles but poorly developed feet.These are just some of the reasons the hummingbird is my favourite bird species is the hummingbirds.In the future, I would like to read and study more about hummingbird hybridization, between closely related species and species in different genera, and see for myself the different combinations — just one more reason they are such a fascinating species.I’ve also been lucky to see hummingbirds not just in Western Canada, but also in the West Indies visiting my grandparents.Alberta has so many brightly colourful birds — such as the American Goldfinch, Mountain Bluebird, Purple Finch — that it could be hard for a hummingbird to stand out.I especially enjoy the males’ dramatic and dizzying aerial displays.In 2010 when my family was on the West Indian island of Nevis, visiting my grandmother, I was able to see many new species of birds, including three new species of hummingbirds — Antillean crested Hummingbird (Orthorhynhus cristatus), Green throated Carib (Eulampis holosericeus), and Purple throated Carib (Eulampis jugulars).I had never seen an actual hummingbird nest before, so we asked the home owner if we could go in his garden for a better look and some pictures.There weren’t any eggs yet in the nest, and we never had a chance to go back, but it was still thrilling.