We're nearing a point where millions of migrant birds will start to flood the skies and dress up our gardens with song and beauty. Even the resident birds appear to recognize that special time of year every time we get a Spring-like day. Winter will slowly lose strength over the next 6 weeks and life will begin to blossom across the continent. As colors begin to emerge in the southern U.S. and the days lengthen, the senses of every hummingbird will be tweaked and fine tuned to perform their part in a migration that lasts for a couple months.
Every hummingbird, although similar in appearance and character, has had a slight DNA adjustment to make each one unique in the time they start to migrate to each one's behavioral difference. Having a slight tweak performed on each bird allows them to migrate at different times, head to different regions of the continent, and behave slightly different than the rest to oftentimes make us giggle. Each one develops behavioral differences based on their food options, dangers and experiences to shape their unique behavior.
One similarity they all have is that when breeding season arrives they develop the most brilliant colors, put on a wonderful display, and demonstrate to us what a really bad attitude looks like. They do the "don't you dare" head shake like the human finger wag, they dominate gardens like they are the authority, but they amuse us with their brilliance and ability year after year.
In one short month the Ruby-throats will start appearing along the southern shore of the U.S., and the Rufous will be moving up the West Coast. While we wait, it's a perfect time to start thinking up our garden and feeder strategy to be fully prepared for the time they reach each one of our gardens.
Adult Male Ruby-throat hummingbird, N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. May 2017
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