when hummingbirds stop humming

Most hummingbird feeders are made so that the little bird drinks while still airborne, wings continuing to beat away at an average of 30 beats per second. That’s how they’re used to hovering next to a flower and drinking its nectar.
This year I bought a hummingbird feeder that has little stands below each fake flower on which the bird can alight. And so I was able to sit a couple of feet away from the feeder and take some photos through the screen and the window.
It’s not often one has a chance to see a hummingbird when it’s not humming. Today one of our usual humming visitors sat quietly at the feeder for more than ten minutes while I watched it drink, look around, drink, pee, poop, look around, drink…. Over and over.
We have three or four different hummingbirds that stop by, including a ruby-throated. We can tell them apart by their sizes and markings.
Whenever it was really hot outside, we noticed that, while they would stop to take a drink, they would barely take a sip and then fly away. Over the last couple of days the weather has been considerably cooler, and they keep coming back to drink throughout the day. It finally occurred to us that, because the feeder is on the sunny side of the house, the liquid must frequently get really hot during the summer. Obviously, they like their meals on the cool side.
Whenever I see one perched on our feeder, I think about how much I would love to hold one in my hand, make it a pet. But that’s not the nature of the feisty little hummer. They’ve gotta keep moving.
Except when they take a rest at my feeder and let me watch them be birds rather than just those loudly buzzing large-insect-looking-things that are gone before you can focus on them.

2 thoughts on “when hummingbirds stop humming

  1. I one had a hummingbird sit on my finger for about 2 minutes. It had got trapped in the house between a large window and a microwave oven sitting on the table in front of the window. It kept trying to fly through the glass. I put my finger across it’s legs and instinct made it hop up onto it. I slowly lifted it out of harms way and then opened a window to let it fly free. It was a magical moment.

  2. That was a rare and magical moment, indeed. And there is something awe-inspiring about those tiny creatures. I know that the ruby throated ones migrate in the fall to as far as Mexico. It’s amazing that they make it that far.

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