06 October 2010

Who Knows Where the Time Goes

Black-Chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) female, Magdalena, NM, Sept. 2010

Across the evening sky
All the birds are leaving
But how can they know
It's time for them to go?
("Who knows where the time goes," Fairport Convention)

Our first hummingbirds arrive in mid-April, a good month before the last frost, and the last ones leave in early October, so any day now they'll all be gone... and the garden will be much quieter. The fiesty Rufous hummers come later and leave earlier -- funny that the most aggressive are also least tolerant of the vagaries of our mountain weather -- so the hardier, more peaceable Broad-tailed and Black-chinned hummers have lately had a few weeks of relative calm in which to fuel up for their winter journey. Many range maps don't put the Rufous hummers in our area, or just note them as passing through during their seasonal migrations, but anyone up here who has a feeder can attest to their strong presence for about three months every summer. Even the females, as shown below, are fiesty and territorial, often dominating feeders to the point where nobody can get a good drink for all the fighting. They're amusing to watch but I must admit that sometimes I just want to shoo away the Rufous so that everyone else can have a peaceful meal. But now that they're gone, with the rest soon to follow, I miss the excitement and drama of their aerial acrobatics.

Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) females, Magdalena, NM, Sept. 2010

1 comment:

Lisa Martin said...

amazing photo! my goodness. love it!