Lots of Humming Birds

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April 14, 2004: Sometimes unwanted change brings compensations. We have lost so many of the oak trees in our front yard. Many of them were trees where we hung bird houses and bird feeders and I wondered what we would do if we no longer had the tree limbs for our feeders. I track the hummingbirds on the Net when it is time for them to return for the summer and this year we had to scramble to find some way to hang the hummingbird feeders before they arrived right on time, March 21st, the same date they arrived last year. The trees where we hung their feeders near the dining room have been removed and I wondered how to keep the birds close so we and our friends and family can enjoy them as we have in the past while we are eating our meals. A couple of trips to Wildbirds Unlimited in Austin  provided tall shepherd's crook poles and we put one up on the deck near the front porch in the general area where the tree limbs had been. I didn't realize it, but by putting the poles on the deck we brought the feeders and birds nearer the house. 

We seem to have more hummers this year. Mostly black-chinned, although there are a few ruby-throats as well. A new thing is happening. They have been swarming the feeders at the new poles. I am having to refill the two 64 ounce feeders daily in addition to the smaller feeders. This weekend when I went out to hang one of the freshly filled feeders, the birds did not back off as they always did when I hung the feeders on the tree limbs. They continued to swarm around me and even began to feed on the feeder I was hanging while my hands were still on it. I stood very still and one flew so close his wings touched my nose as he came in for a landing! Our friends Tipp and Sharon were here for Easter and Tipp took the following picture of that little fellow feeding between my arms. Now I sometimes just go out and stand at the feeders and let them buzz around me, even stood there taking pictures from inches away and it didn't stop them from coming to feed. Here is some backup for these statements:

hummers and me
This is the picture Tipp took. I marked the hummer feeding between my arms with a white arrow, and the blue arrows point to others buzzing nearby that are hard to see against the background.

hummingbird group
This gives a small idea of how they are swarming the feeders, there are others out of the picture buzzing around. 
Note especially the flashing violet of the two black-chinned hummingbirds lower left and upper middle right.

bird group
Here I caught a picture of a ruby-throated humming bird flashing, upper left.

I find it an incredible experience to be able to get so close to these tiny flying jewels. They didn't seem to mind when I stood right by them and took pictures even though the camera makes a faint whirring sound as it records the image. On Easter Sunday this was better than a whole basket full of chocolate, and that says a lot coming from this chocoholic!  Here are two that I took standing right by the birds at the feeders:




We have a place near two windows of the house where we have hung a quadruple shepherd's hook. I have put two hummingbird feeders there and hung a bougainvillea in a hanging basket to attract the hummingbirds nearer the house where we can see them very close from inside. I have also planted one hanging basket with Blue Mist, a plant the nursery owner assures me the butterflies swarm over when it blooms. I have planted yellow lantana in pots around this pole in order to entice the butterflies. I have an underlying motive for doing that. I want the butterflies for us to view from the window, but I also want them to discover the butterfly feeder I have tried in vain to attract them to the past three years. When the plants bloom I will put the butterfly feeder near by and see if they discover it. If they do, I promise pictures here in the future.

And now for the final picture that I like for its humor:

"I be da BOSS," he says.

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Last revised: November 26, 2010

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