Novice Hummingbird May 26 2019, 0 Comments
Some of us always read the manual. Others do not (except in the direst emergency.)
It would seem that our little Anna’s Hummingbird falls into the latter category.
From everything I’ve ready about these tiny little birds, they meet most of their liquid needs from sipping nectar — from feeders or flowers. I have a water mister attached to my birdbath which hummingbirds are supposed to enjoy for bathing in and drinking. While robins, chickadees, bushtits, flickers and even crows, seem to adore the mister, I’ve yet to see a hummingbird use it.
We just moved a stone lion fountain we’ve had for a while to the front of my studio and, since it’s been there, a very young Anna’s Hummingbird has been to “take the waters” there several times a day.
As far as I can gather, hummingbirds are not meant to drink like this. But, as I said, this one has not yet consulted the hummingbird instruction booklet …
Might as well just go for it …
She actually seems to have a bit of a technique there — spreading her wings on the outside of the fountain to stop herself from diving right in.
She does do some more “normal” things, like sipping nectar from flowers …
… and from the good old plastic feeder …
Educational Sidebar . . .
Those hummingbird tongues are a miracle of ingenuity in themselves. Until very recently, it was believed that they acquired nectar using capillary action. Some scientists thought that the lightening speed at which they feed made capillary action seem too slow a method, so they set up feeding stations with elaborate slow motion recording equipment. In 2015 they discovered that Nature’s design is even more amazing, involving an intricate pumping action created by the elasticity of the hummingbird tongue. You can see one of the videos they made, and read more in this New York Times article, The Hummingbird Tongue: How It Works.
When our little hummingbird is getting a bit tired from all that fountain exploration and cleverly engineered sipping, she settles into a quiet spot for a birdnap.
I find the following thirty second video of her taking a quiet moment oh-so delicately balanced on the end of a bit of old honeysuckle vine remarkably relaxing. I keep it on my phone so I can watch it when I feel the world is going mad.
And, speaking of relaxation . . . in a week from now I’m heading to the UK for a month. As I’m a one woman operation, I’ll be closing the online shop from May 28 until July 1, so if you have something you’d like to order before I go, now is the moment …
While I’m gone, apart from spending much anticipated time with family and friends, I hope to see some Tower ravens, meet some of my favourite UK artists, go on some hikes and see lots of British birds. I’ll just have a little point and shoot camera with me, but I’ll try to keep you updated on the highlights as I go. I’ll certainly be posting on Instagram and Facebook and may even manage a blog post or two.
Till then, I leave you with the thought that, although manuals are often handy, sometimes it’s fun to figure things out as you go along.