2022—Etherial Motions

John James Audubon once described the Ruby-throated Hummingbird with these words: “…the etherial motions of its pinions, so rapid and so light, appear to fan and cool the flower, without injuring its fragile texture, and produce a delightful murmuring sound….” The same could be said about its western counterpart, the Anna’s Hummingbird. I have never seen a Ruby-throated Hummingbird but I love the Anna’s who live year-round in my garden. Recently, with no male Anna’s Hummingbirds in sight, the two rival females seem to be able to spend more time at the feeders. Although one tends to be a bit more aggressive than the other, they seem to reach a truce every so often. They don’t drink from the feeders at the same time but one hangs back and watches from the security of the Photineas as the other sips the nectar. Sometimes, one will be at a feeder and the other will be feeding at the Pineapple Sage on the other side of the garden at the same time. Although I am used to seeing swarms of hummers surrounding the feeders in Madera Canyon, Arizona, I am always amazed when I see photographs of feeders from my area crowded with hummers. Not at my house. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen more than one or two hummers in the yard at the same time. But, I’m lucky that the Anna’s stay year round. Now that the live oak in my front yard is gone, I don’t know the fate of the Black-chinned Hummingbirds that used to live there and that occasionally visited my feeders in the back.

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