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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Return of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

We were sad to see our Broad-Tailed Hummingbird leave. He hung around for a couple of days then set sail. Much to our delight a flashy little adult male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird arrived on March 18, 2012. His coal of fire gorget coupled with his iridescent metallic green plumage was stunning.

Lo and behold, an immature male Rufous Hummingbird showed up shortly after the Ruby-Throated Hummer. Rufuous spotted the sugar water feeder and flew at full speed straight for it. Ruby zoomed up hovering in front of Ruby daring him to go past. The two little ones went round and round in mid-air squabbling over the feeder. After a few seconds Rufous had enough and jetted off with Ruby hot on his heels. Ruby, returned and assumed his perch in a nearby citrus tree overlooking 'his territory'. Every time Rufous tried to sneak a sip of sugar water Ruby instantly appeared and ran him off time after time. The little Rufous finally had enough and headed for friendlier territory.

This colorful little guy is delightful to have around. These speedsters are fascinating to watch with wingbeats from 10 - 80 beats per second (depending on the species), with heart rates of 20 beats per second (unless a cute, little female hovers close by getting his attention), with taking 250 breaths per minute while resting, and with having to eat more than their body weight of food every day.

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