Wednesday, July 8, 2009

There's never a shortage of Hummingbirds and other winged visitors to the Buttonwood between May and October. Our guests are treated to their acrobatics and constant highjinks at the crack of dawn while we are serving Paula's scrumptious breakfasts in our dining room. Two hummingbird feeders and the Buttonwood's lush gardens are just outside the dining room windows. The views of the feeders, gardens, forest trees, and bright blue skies serve as a panoramic background for the Hummingbirds aerial acrobatics. To watch the ruby-throated males (Archilochus colubris) perch protectively in the shrubs standing guard over "their" feeder then dart assertively after other hummingbird "clan" members is quite entertaining not to mention amazing. The females, with their green backs and white underside and tail corners tipped black and white, seem to laugh at the antics of the males especially when they perform a U-shaped flying pattern over and over again trying to impress the females or warn other males that this is their territory.

Bill keeps a supply of the nectar on hand at all times as the antics of these little "jet" powered avians burns up a lot of "fuel". They feast on the simple mixture consisting of one part sugar to two parts water and will remind Bill if he forgets to refill one by persistently sounding off with a string of chips and squeaks near the front porch rocking chairs. Guests often comment about the "whirring" sound of their tiny wings as they flit back and forth from feeder to nesting area or pursue each other in a constant attempt to "shoo" away hummingbirds from the competing nesting sites. They are the only birds that can fly backward and their wings, which beat dozens of times per second, make a humming sound which can't be mistaken.

The pictures above were taken by Bill at the hummingbird feeder closest to our dining room picture window near the front porch rocking chair area.

The following images were taken by one of our guests from England:

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