Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fun With Hummingbirds

Even though the days have grown much shorter and many of the summer birds have already begun their migration, I really don't consider summer officially over till the hummingbirds have left and boy, do I have hummingbirds right now!

It was time to clean and refill the nectar feeders tonight and I decided to have a little fun with the hummingbirds before hanging all the feeders back out again.

In my opinion, the most fun you can have with hummingbirds is getting them to come close and maybe even perch on your finger or eat out of your hand. It's easiest to do this when you're changing the nectar and have taken the feeder down for a few minutes. When you get back outside, they usually are waiting impatiently for you to hang it again.

I like to just hold the feeder myself and see how long it takes them to come while it's in my hand. I'm always amazed at how bold and fearless they are for their size.

When my arm got tired, I decided to see what would happen if I put the feeder on my lap.


I like this particular nectar feeder because the bottom is flat and it's easy to hold in your hand or sit on a flat surface (like your lap!)

I had the camera stuck to my face, but I could hear their little buzzes and chirps all around me while they were flying in. I was sitting perfectly still and didn't take the camera away for fear the movement would scare them away, but before I saw them in the viewfinder, I knew they were close because I could feel the breeze generated by those rapidly beating wings....they really make a lot of breeze.

One came.....

Then there was a little challenge when the second one arrived.....

(if you look close in the top center--just right of the red salvia--you can see the hummer across from the one in the lower left corner)

But after a couple seconds, they both settled down to eat.

Then a third one tried to come to the feeder and was met with strong resistance. Can you see all three hummers in this picture? (I should have used the action mode, but forgot in all my excitement.)

I remember a few months ago, someone sent me an e-mail of a woman holding a little red dish (filled with nectar) in her hand and feeding hummingbirds. I'm going to try and find a little red dish and attempt to do this myself. This late summer time of peak hummingbird activity is the perfect time for fun with hummingbirds....and unlike the warnings on TV, "please do try this at home!"


Maud said...

We don't have hummingbirds, so I had never heard about nectar feeders before reading your blog. It must be interesting having so fearless small buddies around.

Anonymous said...

What fun you must have had! Here, in Waterville, I can't keep up with the orioles and "their" jelly! For another Minnesota blog with some great pics go to


Trixie said...


You rock and are the new hero of my 11 year-old! That is just the coolest thing.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Maud,
They are the most amazing little bird, and have to eat all the time to maintain their energy level.

Hi Cindy,
Too weird.....I was just thinking about you this morning. My orioles have been gone for weeks--they must be at your place! I hope you continue to enjoy them for a while yet
P.S. Thanks for the link to Weekend Shooter--I'm adding John's blog to my links.

Hi Trixie,
Your comment made my day! Tell Zoey thanks also! :-D

Deb said...

I haven't seen any hummingbirds lately; maybe they realized it's too darn cold here (32 degrees yesterday morning!) Cool photos.

John Mikes said...

I saw some pics once of a photographer who had such tame hummingbirds they would sit on his finger on one hand and feed out of a bottle cap he held in the other hand. Remarkable. Of course, now that I want to see them again, I can find the link.

BTW -- Thanx for the compliment and the link, and back at ya.

John Mikes
Weekend Shooter

mon@rch said...

This is my kind of fun and I probably would have had the wrong setting also! Heck, those pictures are wonderful and now you need to place your hand out their trying to get them to land on your finger!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Deb,
I saw on the KARE-11 weather the other night that there was going to be frost up north....again! Those hummers sure know it's time to head south.

Hi John,
Thanks for stopping by. If I have technical questions about my Canon PowerShot S1 IS, can I e-mail you?

Hi Tom,
I left work early today (too nice to stay indoors) and in the basement found a nice little red cap on some goldfish food that will work just great in the palm of my hand. I can hardly wait to get it filled with nectar and see what happens! Stay tuned....

Cathy said...

Lucky Ducky! How cut is this!? Good job keeping your hands steady for the photographs. I'd have been so excited NOTHING would have been in focus.

RuthieJ said...

Oh Cathy, it's so fun! I haven't tried this for quite a while and forgot how enjoyable it is----way better than TV!

Jayne said...

Oh, I love these shots Ruthie!! Can't wait to see them drinking out of the cap!!

Mary said...

Wahoo! Ruth, you have me inspired, woman! I can't wait to try this myself. The hummers are very bold. I'll lock the dogs inside and be patient. They'll come to me, I'm certain of that.

Cool post!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jayne,
I got one to drink out of the cap, but didn't have the camera. It's so neat to feel their little feet trying to grasp a perch on your finger!

Hi Mary,
I hope you get a chance to try this. You will love it so much!