Friday, November 27, 2015

Not Exactly A Hummer

The flowers are mostly done from summer and early fall blooms, so now the hummingbird feeders are up. One hangs in front, visible out the living room picture window from where we sit. One sways in back. positioned along the many hook options under the patio roof where, again, it is visible from the living room chairs.  Judging from the noises they make, and the bird guide book descriptions, they are most likely Costas that grace our yard and enjoy our hospitality.

I could be wrong, of course. Last year I was convinced for the first part of the season that they were Lucifers. But those are not noisy, at least according to the books I have. In addition, Costas are supposed to be rare. So someday I may change my mind again about the identity of our visitors. The only thing I am positive about are which are male and which female. And that each feeder has a  fiercely territorial visitor.

At lease, insofar as what other hummers are welcomed to approach, meaning none except when young are being raised and can first fly. But there are other visitors. Both feeders have perches, meant for the hummers to rest while feeding rather than having to hover. Other birds try to take advantage.

We occasionally see finches, or something similar in size. The shape of finches' beaks makes me sceptical of their ability to garner a sip.  Occasionally we see what may be a catbird having a go. Again, I'd have to consult the local guides to be sure of which birds of similar size and coloration are possibilities. The only year-round local birds I'm sure I can identify are roadrunners and gambels quail. Cardinals tint orange down here, and Canadian geese fly overhead to the local grass supply (fore!) with their unmistakable honking, but they are seasonal. I'm positive which birds are hummers, but not what species unless it's a rufus or broadbilled. All the others fall into the category of pink throat, purple throat, or female. That covers a lot of species.

But there is one frequent visitor that is unmistakable, somehow managing to get enough of a reward from the feeder to ensure its frequent returns: a flicker. The feeder tilts precariously, sways wildly when it leaves, but it keeps coming back, several times daily that we notice. After all, who has the whole day to watch a feeder?

Since the syrup level doesn't drop precipitously, I don't mind its visits. There is still plenty left for its hummingbird "owner". And at least it's not apparently drumming major holes in the trees or testing out the house for its habitat. We got enough of that back in Minnesota, including one pileated who thought our screen house was his perfect sounding board. Shoo!

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