Some days are hummingbird days! These are days when activity at the nectar feeders so captivates our attention that we don't want to miss anything. Watching is irresistible. Nothing else gets done!
Today was one of those days for me! Yesterday, I brought home a new native plant species hummingbirds love--Royal Catchfly (Silene regia). A native prairie plant, it gets its name from glands that secrete a sticky enzyme that attracts and captures insects. Though the plant is related to carnivorous plants, it does not benefit nutritionally from the insects.
The new flower species was only one change that attracted my attention and the hummers. I added a new feeder. The two males guarding the four feeders I had out were chasing all the juveniles away. No sooner would an approaching juvenile escape one male, than it would be intercepted by the second. Not nice--but typical hummingbird behavior.
I added the new feeder around the corner near a small garden. Wthin minutes of hanging it, Wow! Juveniles! Sometimes two or three arriving at the same time, reacting to each other with tails flared, face-offs and chirps. Very shortly, however, another male showed up. A beautiful male, breath-taking to see at such close range. I was sitting only a few feet from the feeder.
The tenacity of one of the juveniles was surprising He did not want to give up his feeder and challenged the male repeatedly. In the image below, the male is watching the juvenile and balancing to face him as he hovers and threatens.
This is the height of hummingbird season, the best time to see and enjoy them. The first juveniles are out of the nest, second nesting has begun, and northern hummingbirds have already begun migration.
For an extra treat this season, join us at the Wonder of Hummingbirds Festival at Ijams Nature Center, in Knoxville, TN, on August 20th to celebrate these magnificent birds! More information is found in the link below.
Photo credits: All the photos in this blog post were taken by Vickie Henderson
Ijams Nature Center website with festival information
Wonder of Hummingbird Festival