I’m bringing my blog focus back from New Mexico to Tennessee for a day to post on the male ruby-throated hummingbird who has claimed my feeder as part of his territory. I finally got this photo of him yesterday morning --not an easy accomplishment and just enough to encourage me. As you know, if you've ever watched them, male hummingbirds on territory are virtual little furies. Alert and territorial, they are constantly watching for intruders and for females who may be attracted to their nectar supply. The reception is noticeably different for the two. When a male ventures near, he is hotly chased away. When a female visits the feeder, she is allowed to drink and when she departs, he follows close behind.
In his book, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Robert Sargent describes the male on territory. “From the day they establish their territories…it becomes life in the fast lane for these little bullies. Almost immediately, their appearance starts to deteriorate. They do not feed properly, their weight starts to decline, and their once pristine feathers start to show the rigors of breeding season, becoming soiled as normal preening is neglected and abraded as the birds crash with abandon through the foliage of their territories."
If you look closely at the first photo, you will see missing feathers, loose tuffs of down and a scruffy rather than sleek, preened appearance—the rigors of pursuits. He begins his day in the pre-dawn light, emitting territorial chirps and paying several early visits to the feeder. I hope to have more photos soon and maybe a few of others passing through. Its mid-July. Early nesters from more northern states are beginning their migration now. I wonder how my tiny neighbor can be any more vigilant.
For the Love of It...
...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.