Friday, August 8, 2008

Signs of mid-summer.

The Rufous Hummingbirds are gone. Here in mid-March, headed south by August.

Two dozen Bushtits leapfrog through the neighbourhood; the family groups are fusing into larger flocks.

Likewise, the crows are flocking at dusk, streaming north in their hundreds to their communal night roost.

The Ligularia dentata blooms. This slug-ravaged veteran of my garden flowers late and long. The flower heads come out looking already weathered and tired -- which is how I feel. (But there's hope: only 25 days till school starts!)


Shibaguyz said...

We wondered what those little birds were! Lately in the evenings we've been visited by marauding bands of these tiny little birds. About thirty of them flit through, land on the trees and tomatoes, seem to have a field day picking off bugs, then off they go to the next yard. They are a joy to watch and even the Shibaboyz just sit and stare at them rather than running them away.

Thank you for finally clearing that up for us!

Hugh said...

You're very welcome. There are some pictures of them from last April here:

Emily said...

I still get Rufous Hummingbirds in my yard every day. Only a couple, but the still come for the flowers. At 5 am when my alarm goes off, I can hear (just below my open bedroom window is a patch of Bee Balm) the little 'chirp-shirp' that they make, so I know they're still coming around.

Someone at a local bird store told me to keep my feeder up over the winter....? I'm not sure why he would have told me that.

Hugh said...


The reason for keeping your feeder up all year is that Anna's Hummingbirds stay year-round. During peak summer they aren't as numerous (in most places) as Rufous Hummingbirds, but over the past 3 or 4 decades the numbers of year-round residents have gradually increased. They are particularly common in the Victoria area, and most often are associated with human habitats (because of flowers and feeders). This is not to say that there may not still be a few Rufous around. There tends to be a late summer trickle of those migrating southward (Rufous nest as far north as Alaska), but around here I have seen none in the past 2 weeks.

Emily said...


Thanks for the info on the Anna's Hummingbird. I think I will keep one of my 2 feeders up over the winter. I wonder if the sugar water will get too cold?

There has been a female Roufous around my house all day today. Every time I go outside I see her at my feeders or flowers! I have yet to have taken a photo of a hummingbird, so decided to sit on my deck (the feeder is a few feet from my head there) with my camera. They will usually come to the feeder while I'm sitting there, but I have to stay still.

So the Rufous has been coming all day, but when ever I have my camera in my hand she won't show up! (Even though I hear her cheekily chirping in nearby trees), and see her sitting on my cloths line waiting for me & my camera to leave!

Thanks for all your info! I really enjoy reading your blog.

Hugh said...

Thanks, Emily.

They can be maddeningly difficult to photograph. The females and juveniles of different species can also be difficult to tell apart. If you get a picture I would be happy to try to identify it.

About the sugar water: I've not heard of the temperature being a problem. Interesting consideration, though. If it were that cold, would the birds even be active (instead of torpid, as some hummers are during harsh conditions)? I don't know.