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Posts Tagged ‘hummingbirds’

            “The daily hummingbird assaults existence with improbability.” Ursula K. Le Guin

Male Anna’s hummingbird. — Wikimedia photo

A Constant Delight at my Nectar Feeder

            If you want to see hummingbirds in North America, then Southeastern Arizona is the best place to be. While there are over 300 species of hummingbirds that can be found in South America, only about 17 come north across the Mexican border. Of that number, at least 13 of these species can be found around Tucson, where I currently live.

Female Anna’s hummingbird — Wikimedia photo

In my home state of Texas, the only hummingbird I would likely see is the ruby-throated.  Here in Tucson, I get six species regularly visiting my third-floor balcony nectar feeder every year: broad-billed, black-chinned, Costa’s, Anna’s, broad-tailed and rufous. Although it didn’t come to my feeder, I even spotted a Lucifer hummingbird in the tree next to my balcony two years ago. That was a life bird for me, and a one-time event so far in my life.

Of the hummingbirds that visit my apartment, I may only see one or two rufous during an entire year. The other five, however, are more common, especially Anna’s. This feisty little bird doesn’t migrate so I get to see it almost daily throughout the year.

The females are dainty things, with glittering green and white feathers with perhaps a few sparkling magenta gems around their necks. The

I saw my first Costa;s hummingbird from my third-floor Tucson balcony. — Wikimedia photo

males are agile dive bombers who guard my nectar feeder against other hummers, and they have brilliant crimson-red crowns and necks that shimmer in the sunlight. I never tire of watching them.

Perhaps because Anna’s favorite food is nectar from feeders put out by humans, they have had no problem surviving loss of habitat, as so many other birds have. In the early 20th century, Anna’s could only be found on the Baja California Peninsula but they have slowly been spreading northward and inward.

The hummers were named after Anna Massena, Duchess of Rivoli. Why? This wondering-wanderer immediately asks. I didn’t find the answer. Do you know?

Bean Pat: https://naturehasnoboss.com/2019/06/04/as-the-snow-melts/  It’s time to visit Yellowstone.

*Available on Amazon, Travels with Maggie features a list of birds saw each leg of the journey.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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.           “Time passes too fast. Like a hummingbird flying by, it’s just a blur to my eyes.” – Amanda Leigh

A male Anna's hummingbird. But the one I saw this morning was a less colorful female. Wikimedia photo, Brocken Inaglory

A male Anna’s hummingbird. But the one I saw this morning was a less colorful female. Wikimedia photo, Brocken Inaglory

Life is Good

Female Anna's hummingbird. -- Wikimedia photo

Female Anna’s hummingbird. — Wikimedia photo

Last night, at around 9 o’clock, I sat on my bedroom’s third-floor balcony and watched lightning flash across the sky like fireworks. Sometimes a deep rumbling followed, but mostly it was a silent event, until I moved to the living room balcony where the rumbling was more consistent. The air smelled musty with the rain that never fell, and I was awed by the deep magenta hue of the sky, wondering how that was possible.

The show was long, and so I fixed myself a Jack and Coke and settled into a patio chair to watch in leisure, afterwards falling into a relaxed sleep that held me until a sliver of light seeped through my bedroom shutters.

Broad-billed Hummingbird at the San Diego Zoo. -- Wikimedia photo

Broad-billed Hummingbird at the San Diego Zoo. — Wikimedia photo

The morning was muggy, but still cool enough here in Tucson for me to sit again on my balcony and sky watch, this time with my morning ritual of cream-laced coffee and my journal. As I watched, through my usually handy binoculars, a broad-billed hummingbird landed on a nearby tree and then zoomed straight to my nectar feeder that sat above my head. Seeing me, it zoomed away, but soon returned, and after deciding I was harmless, fed.

Then there were two hummingbirds flitting about in competition for the feeder. The second one was a black-chinned hummingbird, the species I see most often. After they had left, a third hummingbird appeared and drank. It was an Anna’s, although because it was a female, it took me a while to identify. The males, with their spectacular pinkish-purplish heads are an identification no-brainer.

Black-chinned hummingbird -- Wikimedia photo

Black-chinned hummingbird — Wikimedia photo

Seeing these three hummingbird species took me back to the morning I awoke to find three hummingbirds flitting in my ten. It happened in 1991, during a rafting trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon – before I became addicted to bird watching. I had no idea what species of hummingbirds they were at that time. I’m not sure I even knew then that hummingbirds came in different races.

While seeing those three hummingbirds flitting above my head in the tent 25 years ago thrilled me, seeing the trio this morning, and being able to identify each of them, was just as thrilling.

Life is good. And I am blessed.

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Mornings

            “It is in the early morning hour that the unseen is seen, and that the far-off beauty and glory, vanquishing all their vagueness, move down upon us till they stand clear as crystal close over against the soul.” ~Sarah Smiley

I find mornings magical, a gift to me from Mother Nature. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I find mornings magical, a gift to me from Mother Nature. — Photo by Pat Bean

The Peaceful Time

I filled my nectar feeder this morning for the first time in weeks, having stopped the ritual because of summer bee season here at my apartment complex.

Verdins feed more at my nectar feeder than hummingbirds. I love watching them. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Verdins feed more at my nectar feeder than hummingbirds. I love watching them. — Photo by Pat Bean

As I sat in my living room chair, staring out at it through the open balcony door, a black-chinned hummingbird, perhaps the same one that has been regularly checking the empty feeder, stopped by for breakfast. It was soon joined by a verdin, a tiny bird that is as common as hummingbirds at my feeder.

While hummingbirds usually chase off their own species wanting to feed at the same time, these two peacefully shared the wealth. I wondered why I had taken so long to start filling the feeder again.

And then I drank in my favorite time of day. Too often it’s the only time of day my chaotic brain ceases to race through life. The desert morning was cool and still, making me feel as if I were the only human up and moving around at this moment  in time – just seconds before the sun would bring reality to a world full of good and evil, and beauty and ugliness. The air was tinged with magic, and my soul filled with peace as I gratefully accepted Mother Nature’s gift.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: The rest of the story http://tinyurl.com/lkx3jz9  I guess Ruth never heard about Paul Harvey. By the way, I’m laughing with this blogger because I’ve been in her position. Sometimes what we think is interesting, readers find less so.

Woman of the Mountain http://tinyurl.com/kpuqh4w A  Blue Ridge Parkway hero.  

            .

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“The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings.” — Unknown

First came the hummingbirds to my nectar feeder. Then one day I looked out and the verdins had come to dinner, too.

Young verdins taking advantage of my nectar feeder. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Young verdins taking advantage of my nectar feeder. — Photo by Pat Bean

Then came another guest. A gila woodpecker.

A hungry gila woodpecker. He drank for about five minutes. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A hungry gila woodpecker. He drank for about five minutes. — Photo by Pat Bean

No wonder my nectar feeder is empty before day’s end.

Bean’s Pat:  Great Friends http://tinyurl.com/mdplxmy It makes me wonder if the hummingbirds had sent out invitations to dinner for their unusual

friends.

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