For well over a decade I have spent countless hours among the hummingbirds. Days, weeks and months have been spent watching the more detailed information of how they behave and react in every situation. I wouldn't consider myself one that knows all the different species, but one that understands a great deal about one. I don't know why I keyed in on one species when I first started, but I went full force on understanding everything I possibly could about the one, and would consider myself more of a hummingbird behaviorist. I didn't learn my information from other books, but rather invested the time right at the source. There were questions, and lots of them that I desired to know in which I couldn't find any answers. So when I decided to learn about the Ruby-throat hummingbird, I stopped at nothing to understand every detail about their behavior. What I soon discovered is that every fanned tail, head wag, squeak or head drop had a purpose. Every movement had a motive, but it was a matter of solving the mystery behind them all. After millions of sightings I don't know if there's anything unusual left to see. Of course, there will always be some information that is beyond our reach, but much of what's been revealed to us I've seen, and multiple times over. From mating to feeding and fighting, it's all become quite familiar and I can safely say I can usually read the signals. I can honestly say that I've learned a lot about one species alone. Now there are several thousand to go, but not enough time in my life to learn them all. There are other people that have also invested their lifetime learning just one species, and I fully understand the intrigue of learning just one to the fullest because I've done that, and it's incredibly rewarding, but then there are times when I wish I had spread out my time and efforts to learn a little fragment about many species.
By a simple glance at this image, this young male Ruby-throat has dropped his head to indicate that he's focusing on another hummingbird above him. That dropped head and straight focus tells us he sees another hummingbird, and is intimidated by its presence. If he was the owner of that garden area and didn't want to leave his perch, he'd do a side to side head wag to show his authority over the intruder. In this case he simply sat, dropped his head and focused, hoping the other would give him a free pass.
N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. July 30, 2018
Author of Jewel of the North. Please post your comments and questions.