On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I have Cubans in my backyard!

I wrote a post about a month and a half ago reminding Moms to put themselves first, to take care of themselves and to make a list of the top ten things they like to do that's just for them.

Well, I forgot to mention one that I utterly enjoy.

HUMMINGBIRDS!!!

It is my belief that the pair of ruby-throated hummingbirds we had last year has returned.  These two seem to be nesting in the same tree.  Last year they had two babies that made it to adulthood which was amazingly good fun watching the babies fly to the feeder and back to the nest, getting bigger by the day.  These drink from the feeder at the kitchen window so I am greeted every morning and evening while I prepare meals. And occasionally, if I am neglectful and let the feeder get to low, they hover and glare at me from the other side of the glass. Which is hoot!

This year I hung a feeder in the backyard from one of the many pines (another thing the dang trees are good for) and hoped I'd get another pair.  But what I hadn't anticipated is that I'd get a different species.  I kept looking and saying to myself, my, that female is large and gosh, her coloring is different but it's not a female.  In my best estimation and casual research (an hour on the internet and three books later), I believe it to be a male Cuban Emerald.  And how can I be so certain?

This morning the kids and I ate breakfast on the back porch because it was so cool.  We have an eye-line view of the feeder and while we ate, the chattering and flitting of the dueling hummingbirds began. The conquest was a sip from the feeder. We giggled and oooed and ahhhed over them as they swooped and dived and heckled one another. Finally, one of the birds won the battle and perched on the feeder.  This one was taller, stouter with a back that was bronze-gold with black wings that had a blunted end.  I about choked on my banana.  "A female Cuban!  I knew it!!!'  And the kids thought I'd gone batty as did the dogs.

The research on the internet shows different colored Cuban females than the texts I've read and technically, we're too far north for Cubans but it's been mighty hot here, so hot my tomato blossoms have been aborting! ugh. The unusual climate patterns we've had the past few years may have driven them further north than they are reported to be seen.  It's no uncommon for bird species to adapt quickly (so says the former biology teacher).  That said, owing to the fact that I'm no ornithologist, I've only done an amateur review and that this website says Cubans don't live in my state, with trepidation I am happy to report that

I have Cubans in my backyard!
 


I think we might also have a pair of some broad-tailed but they fly so fast it's hard to distinguish them from the ruby-throat and besides, I know I've never seen the female broad-tail.

Still, isn't that fun? Last year we captured some snapshots of the birds at the feeder and when you scroll through the photos quickly, it looks like a stop animation film of the birds in flight. *snicker*

[edit] wow! i went back to the website I listed above and read the FAQ:
Q:
Can I tell how many hummers I have by the amount of syrup they consume?
A: Not precisely, because you can't know what they're eating elsewhere, but you can make a reasonable estimate. One study suggests 1000 birds per gallon consumed daily. Or count the highest number of birds on your feeders at one time, then multiply by 6.

That means, I have somewhere between 12 and 18 hummers coming to my feeders! WOW!

It's the simple pleasures in life. What's yours?

3 comments:

Corey said...

Hummingbirds are my favorite thing about my dad's house (don't tell my dad!) He has a feeder right on the living room window and I can sit in the rocking chair and watch them flock to it. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that I have some hummingbirds that come to some trees in my yard, but I have not gotten my act together enough to put a feeder up. xoxo

Little Wonder said...

We have ruby throated hummingbirds too up here in the North and we have a feeder right off my kitchen window. I love watching them dive bomb each other and listening to them chatter away!

So cool you got another species!

SECRET PEPPER PERSON: said...

Congratulations! I have NEVER seen a hummingbird in all the years I've live in Florida! Jealous? Yes.