Our first young Ruby-throats showed up July 19th. They didn't appear too young, which means they're probably a few days away from the nest. The mother did show up with them, but they were pretty self sufficient. They squabbled with each other, and even had a few chases with the adult males that are now sticking around to fatten up. This young'n had patches of Rufous coloring in it, which always gets my attention. The rare Rufous are always a treat, but in this case I'm pretty sure it was a false alarm.
Young birds will be drawn to flowers immediately, and spend most of their time in them. A good supply of flowers will keep them around long enough, until they figure out how to use feeders.
Very little about this young one's appearance tells us its a juvenile, but its behavior was the giveaway. It sat in the most unusual locations, and fed side by with its sibling, with the odd squabble in between, and then back to feeding.
The adult males are getting tougher to tell apart as this season really forces changes in their behavior. In one instance a male spotted a young one at a feeder. He flew up with angry intentions, but when he arrived, he gave the impression of "you look like you could be one of mine, but I still don't like you that much", and then flew away. The stern teaching will start quickly, which is vital to the survival of young hummingbirds. Within hours the young will develop the head twitches in search of any threats from all directions. It won't be difficult for them to fight back as the bad attitude is inherent in all young hummingbirds. With myself being at the furthest north portion of the Ruby-throats' territory, all regions should have seen or will see their first young any day. Start to watch more than just feeders. The young are drawn to flowers which are essential early on. It's very common to see 2 young arrive to your garden at the same time. A close bond for the first 4 weeks of their lives, takes a few days away from the nest to develop their independence.
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