Sunday, December 30, 2018

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Last night's frost put a curl in the bougainvillea leaves, but the Broad-billed Hummingbirds survived just fine.

The warm morning sun jolts the Broad-billed Hummingbirds into the day's activities.

Winter is a time for little more than staying alive. Resting and waiting for spring is the most one can expect of a hummingbird in winter.

Nectar means survival.

Guarding their food source is the primary goal. This Broad-billed Hummingbird seems well equipped to protect what he claims as his.

Birds are often named for a noteworthy feature of their being. In the Broad-billed's case I would assume it's his broad red and black bill. Other species of hummingbirds have more slender bills.

Spotting an intruder in his territory, he's off to defend.

This juvenile male has been hanging around the feeders and sipping nectar, whenever he could get away with it.

The gleaming Broad-billed male tolerated some nectar sipping by the juvenile, so this one may be related to him.

(Click any picture to enlarge)

It could be that or maybe he's just tired of constantly springing into action at every trespass.

Really, there is plenty for everyone.

Still, if they all shared and got along peacefully, they wouldn't be hummingbirds... would they?


Credits: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds
The Sibley's Guide to Birds

Thursday, December 27, 2018


The natural hummingbird food sources are running low at this time of the year. If your flowers haven't experienced a frost so far, more than likely, frost is on the way soon.

This Broad-billed Hummingbird inspects every flower and moves on quickly, so I believe he's getting very little nectar for his efforts.

He gleams in the rare afternoon overcast of Oro Valley, Arizona.

If you already have hummingbirds or would like to attract them, now is a good time to supplement their dwindling food supply. 

If you start a hummingbird feeding program, please continue it until spring when their natural food returns.

The recipe is simple. 4 cups of water to 1 cup plain white sugar... heat, stir, cool and fill the feeder of your choice.

Place the feeder near a window for your enjoyment. They'll usually return every 10 minutes for a drink. If you have more than one hummingbird, they appear in rotation.

Just be aware hummingbirds are notorious squabblers. They get very defensive of their food sources.

(Click any picture to enlarge)

This Costa's Hummingbird is one of three species of hummingbirds we get here. Different locations get different species. Arizona boasts of 15 different hummingbird species throughout the State.


Credits: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds
The Sibley's Guide to Birds

Monday, December 10, 2018

American Kestrel

I like to believe this American Kestrel was proudly showing me his latest catch, but I may be wrong about that.
Rather, he seemed unimpressed and untroubled by my presence just below the roadside power line.

That's a good thing.

The zebra-tailed lizard in his mouth was past showing any emotion.

American Kestrels are commonly seen hunting from utility wires. Predictably though, they'll fly away as your car approaches. This is a female and she's ready to departure any second now.

She did. She circled around only to come back to the same spot when I passed.

You'll occasionally see these small falcons flapping against the wind over an open field. They're flying in place to watch for movement in the grass below.

American Kestrels eat grasshoppers, small mammals, and now I can say for certainty... lizards.

This zebra-tailed lizard must have been tasty throughout, all the way down to its zebra striped tail, as that's all that's left now.

One medium lizard is a generous meal for this dove-sized falcon.   

Being the smallest member of the falcon family, it serves the little falcon well to remain alert to danger. Several species of hawks, barn owls and crows prey on the American Kestrel.


Credits: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds
The Sibley's Guide to Birds