Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Bathing

Weidensaul et al. (2013) tersely report that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds bathe "in water on leaf surfaces or fine spray.” This hummingbird is bathing exactly in that fashion. Yesterday, Erika and I visited the Funky Garden nursery in Washington Co., Minnesota, just north of the William O’Brian State Park. An employee of the nursery moved a water sprinkler that began to soak a small tree among the flower beds. Twice this Ruby-throated Hummingbird flew up to the tree and perched at the top. It fluttered its wings and ruffled its feathers as it perched.
After its second bath, the bird remained perched for a few seconds as the water receded. Perhaps the bird enjoyed a  bit of warm sunlight before it flew off. If you look closely at the last photo, you may notice that this hummingbird appears to be banded on its left leg. Even greatly enlarged copies of the photo do not positively prove that the bird is banded—try magnifying the photo on your computer (“command +” on a Mac). Does anyone know of someone banding hummingbirds in Washington Co.? Hummingbirds are not banded by the majority of banders since doing so requires special permits and bands.)
Finally, on the right side of the first photo, there is a UFO—an Unidentified Flying Object.  A falling acorn? I might add that, in the first and last photos, the hummingbird appears to be uncharacteristically yellow-breasted. This color is a reflection from the tree leaves.

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