I stepped outside this morning after an overnight rain and the air was fresh as Spring. I inhaled deeply and immediately started thinking about gardening and what would survive the cold Winter that just passed. In my colder climate there aren't many options for early Springtime perennials that attract hummingbirds. However, this bluebird Clematis is an incredible attraction early in the year. It's about as hardy of perennial as you'll find and it produces a blanket of pale purple flowers in Springtime, and a smaller second bloom later in the season when the young hummingbirds are leaving the nest. Unlike many Clematis flowers, this one has slightly smaller blooms that droop downward. There's definitely something about them that they like because they'll do just about anything to get to them.
Early in the Spring when the flowers first open, the dominant male hummingbird will spot each and every flower as they begin to open. This particular capture is of a juvenile Ruby-throat later in the season. At least once an hour this youngster would show up and poke around in each new bloom. It's a little less showy later in the season, but in springtime can be seen from great distances. It's exactly the type of flowers I like to have at the start of the season when hummingbirds are first arriving. Its targets like this that get their attention, and once they arrive they'll spot all the other treasures awaiting them.
Juvenile Ruby-throat hummingbird in a Bluebird Clematis. August 6, 2018. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
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