Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only hummingbird you are likely to see in Wisconsin.  If you have one sipping nectar in your garden this year, consider yourself lucky. 

The male usually gets all the attention, due to his brilliant throat colors, but the female is just as beautiful. 

The female's throat is largely white, although there is nothing large about this bird at all.  At a petite 0.11-ounce and with a wingspan about as long as your middle finger, hummingbirds have to be seen up-close to be appreciated. 

Viewed from the back, males and females are nearly identical. The female’s blue-green iridescent back is just as striking as the male’s.  

From the front the male has a ruby throat, but only when the light strikes him at just the right angle.  At all other times his throat is a dull black. 

The female keeps herself looking good by occasionally cleaning, straightening and re-arranging her coat of feathers.  

The male spends a lot of his time chasing other hummingbirds from his territory and away from his nectar sources. Males are very aggressive and highly territorial.  He shares his nectar with the female, but he definitely drinks first. 

Feathers are rearranged and tucked back in place.

This looks to be a first-year male. He's just now developing his iridescent throat feathers. 

He might return next year to the state of his birth fully grown to establish his own territory…fully-grown at 1/10 of an ounce, that is.
I'd be happy to see all three of them if they returned to my garden next year.
They certainly are welcome.