Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

I took these photos of a female and male Ruby-throated Hummingbird on 26 August 2016. We watched as a single bee drove the hummers from the feeder. The hummingbirds flew off and hovered about three meters from the feeder. They then returned to the feeder, only to be driven off again. Finally the bee relented and allowed the birds brief visits to the sugar-water.

Prior to their migration, these hummers can double their body mass, consuming nectar and insects. Despite an average body mass of 3.5 grams for females, and 3 grams for males, many Ruby-throated Hummingbirds cross, non-stop, the Gulf of Mexico. The proportion of Ruby-throats that make a trans-gulf flight is unknown, as are many other details of their migration (Weidensaul et al. 2013).

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