Ruby-Throated HummingbirdSeptember 2005


The ruby-throated hummingbird is about the size of a person's thumb but has the buzz of a much larger animal. The following photos are all of females, who do not have a ruby throat but who are, nevertheless, fascinating. I mean, to have a tiny, tiny bird suddenly pop up in front of you for a 5-second stare and then buzz away, it is quite a surprise.

Although I saw (and photographed one or two) earlier in the spring, for the past few weeks they have been constant visitors to the hibiscus we have in our backyard. Having survived the trip to State College, Pennsylvania, and having been transplanted into a larger pot, the hibiscus has been happily flowering all summer.

The hummingbird below was busily sampling all the hibiscus flowers.

Hummingbird in flight
  And that was all it took for Sue to hang a hummingbird feeder outside.

Even with the feeder available, a hummingbird still goes to the hibiscus first. The feeder is an afterthought.

The shy birds perch first to inspect the contraption.

Hummerbird leaving perch
  After making sure she wasn't going to be chased away (since the hummingbirds are antisocial and dislike sharing), this one had a long drink.
Hummingbird sipping
  Photo note: I used a Pentax *ist D, with the SMC 400-600 reflex lens for the first shot and the SMC-A* 300mm lens for the second two.

My Pennsylvania bird list

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