Hummingbirds at the Feeders

I added another hummingbird feeder to the garden last week, and now I often have three or four of the little buggers hanging around (there are now at least eight in the neighborhood; in the evening I can see them hunting insects around the Live Oak). Yesterday there was a pair taking turns at one feeder:

Here's the female having a drink and occasionally looking up.

The female hummingbird

Her partner, keeping watch for other hummingbirds (he chased off two while I watched) from the electrical wire.

Her partner

I looked them up and these are Anna's Hummingbirds. The Chatty Cathy of the hummingbird world. If all hummingbirds made this much noise, they would have to have a very different name.

Interesting note about something I read: it turns out that the concentration of the sugar nectar determines how often the birds will visit the feeder. 1:4 (sugar:water), the concentration I use, is weak, so they come back often but might choose a sweeter nectar preferentially. Researchers used a 1:2 concentration nectar to get the birds interested in a feeder, then slowly reduced the concentration. The sweeter the nectar, the less often the birds fed. Drought-tolerant plants like salvias tend to have a more concentrated nectar, so often hummingbirds will choose the flowers over the feeder, but won't visit them as often.

Interesting, eh?

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posted by ayse on 09/08/06