the “good morning” hummingbird

What could be more pleasant than to sit outside on a coolish, bright sunny morning with a cup of coffee and a camera watching Ruby-throated Hummingbirds forage on Salvia flowers? The light was harsh and full of high contrast until the birds visited just the right flowers…

Salvia flowers are the right color, the right depth for the hummingbird’s bill and tongue, and the right fit for its head to pick up pollen from the flower’s protruding anthers.
Peek-a-boo, it looks like the hummer is keeping an eye on me while I’m keeping an eye on it.
I never get tired of watching their acrobatic flights between flowers as they probe each one for the tiny bit of nectar at the bottom of each floral tube.

Soon these tiny bundles of energy will undertake a giant-sized migration south to the Gulf coast. There they will again stock up on sugar-rich nectar to convert to fat stores that supply the energy for them to cross the Gulf of Mexico (the smallest birds to do so), without stopping, to get to their overwintering sites in Central America.

Because of their high requirement for sugar during their migration, they become frequent visitors to backyard nectar feeders at this time of year. To keep these little dynamos healthy on migration, remember to change the sugar solution in your feeders every 3-4 days, so it doesn’t grow mold or bacteria.

9 thoughts on “the “good morning” hummingbird

  1. Hi Sue, we exchanged an email earlier this summer regarding you presenting for Pilgrim House in Arden Hills. Are you still interested? If so I can give you some available dates. I have been following your recent posts and am enjoying the combination of photography and scientific observation. We are having hybrid presentations with speakers in person and via zoom so you can pick which format is more comfortable for you.

    Sent from Smallbiz Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    • Thanks, Mike. It’s just like “shooting fish in a barrel”. I sit in front of the flowers, and the hummers hover right in front of me. If only warblers were as cooperative!

  2. Sue, I have never seen such a great photo of a hummingbird pollinating. Any chance you will share the photos on Wikimedia Commons? I would like to use one in an educational slide show. Thanks. Katherine Wagner-Reiss


  3. Hi Sue, The top picture is amazing.  Thank you!  We are having a summer superbloom here in rural Tucson and the butterflies are so thick that you can’t drive anywhere without passing through clouds of them in our area.  The bats and the nighthawks are having a wonderful feast on the mosquitoes every night.  It’s been a great year.  I really enjoy your blog, even though I don’t comment often.

    • Thanks, Betsy. That’s good to hear — I’m glad the butterflies are plentiful somewhere, because it surely isn’t up north here. I’m so glad you enjoy the blog, and I hope you’ll spread the word. Thanks!

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