Monday, September 21, 2009

Two Little Hangers-On

We still have two little birds hitting the feeders. How sad we'll be when they head south, too. Hope they are still here when we return from the Chautauqua in Madison, Indiana, this coming weekend.

Hummingbird fact for today: The hummers' migration is triggered by the length of the day. You cannot stop them from migrating by keeping your feeder out. Even you can't fight Mother Nature. The males are the first to leave, opening up the food sources for the females and juveniles. The females leave next. And finally this year's young leave. Hummers fly solo; they do not fly in flocks. Those young-un's head out with no one to show them where they are going. Amazing, isn't it?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Arrivederci. Adiós. Au Revoir. Auf Wiedersehen

Two weekends ago when we left for a show, we took down the tube feeders and replaced them with several bottle feeders. We had so many hummers zipping around, they were emptying all the tubes several times a day, so we wanted to make sure they would find enough food to hang around until we got home. Sure enough, on Monday we had our standard feeding frenzy and swarm of hummers.

This past weekend we did the same thing. But on Monday, we had fewer hummers. And noticeably absent are the red-gorgeted males. It appears that the migration back to the homeland has started. The males leave first. The females will follow over the next few weeks. This year's juveniles will be the last to depart. They fly individually and no one shows them where to go. What an incredible journey!

About two weeks ago we also lost our male orioles. Only females were eating the grape jelly. And now this week, nothing is eating the grape jelly. It appears that they, too, feel the forces of nature.

Woe is me!

Hummingbird fact for today: Feathers lost accidentally within a few weeks, while those damaged but not lost are replaced during the next normal molt.