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Things that make you go hummmmmmmmm

January 5, 2013

Hummingbirds are a huge part of daily life for us, and a huge part of a visitor’s experience when they come here to Las Tangaras. Since a blog post has not been dedicated to these crazy little beasts for over a year, here goes nothing!

Every morning, we feed the hummers, and they are always waiting for us in droves:


Note the birds already on the feeder before Jeff lets go.

This is so much fun for us, that we have to share the experience with our visitors:


Nicolien puts out the feeders.

…and they do take advantage of it!


Mike takes pictures.

This time of year, our feeders attract a huge amount of birds, and they go through 2 cups of sugar easily in a day. They sit in all their colorful glory:


A green-crowned woodnymph.

They show off as best they can that which nature gave them:


A violet-tailed sylph.

…you’d think that tail would be an evolutionary disadvantage, but he seems to like it.

They’re not all flashy:


A fawn-breasted brilliant.

But, whatever does the job, right?

They do sometimes share the feeders:


The little and the big: the purple-bibbed whitetip and the empress brilliant

Although they don’t always share it well:


Two white-necked jacobins fight, and a purple-bibbed whitetip female is a bit alarmed.

But food always wins.


The purple-bibbed whitetip goes back to eating, and ignores those silly boys.

The fights can be quite spetacular, with a lot of aerial acrobatics and high speed chasing. Some species are real fighters, like the white-necked jacobin, the rufous-tailed hummingbird, and the violet-tailed sylph. Others just let the madness pass them by.

Sometimes, they do get along all right, and it’s party time at the feeders:


Dude – who brought the sugar water?

Jeff made a pretty awesome little video of some of the wild times, starring my favorite hummingbird, the purple-bibbed whitetip:

Unfortunately, because we have a house on the property and the house has windows, we sometimes get window hits. We haven’t had any fatalities in our month here yet, and usually it gives us the opportunity to get up close and personal with these guys. We offer them sugar water to revive them, which generally does the trick.


Jeff spoon feeds a rufous-tailed hummingbird.

They aren’t always completely appreciative of the gesture, though, and try to make themselves look tough by fluffing up.


I don’t think he looks all that tough.

When Jaime and Micah were leaving, they told us we would quickly learn all of the hummingbirds we regularly see. We thought they were crazy – we’ve seen up to 15 species in a day, and they move fast. But these little guys stole our hearts and proved them right! A Las Tangaras morning wouldn’t be complete without them.

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