Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hummingbirds are Sure Signs of Spring

Every year around the first or second week of May, the hummingbirds arrive along the Front Range. The picture above is that of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, taken today at the feeder. The Rufous and the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are usually the first ones at the feeders. This year, I recorded the first one seen here on April 29th, about 1 1/2 weeks earlier than normal. It was a Rufous and seemed to be looking for the feeders where they were last year. After seeing the hummingbirds searching for the feeders for a few days, it was time to get them out and fill them with sugar water. Later in the summer when there are many penstemon, agastache, and other nectar filled flowers blooming the feeders are less visited. At this time of year, we barely have any perennials showing much growth, so the feeders provide an important source of nutrition to the hummingbirds. Many times there will be several birds fighting for spaces to feed, and it is great to hear the "whirling" sound they make as they fly.
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