He arrived pretty much the same day as the last few years. We had gone from Winter straight to Summer and we didn't really know what to expect. Slow growing plants were quickly subject to 20 C temps and they bolted from the ground. They were behind schedule 3 weeks earlier, and then the warm ground woke every sleeping perennial in a big hurry. Ziggy, our dominant Ruby-throat hummingbird, showed up right on time. He quickly inspected all his feeders, checked out his bathing fountain, searched out the highest points in the garden, and then guarded and protected his territory for the next 2 months. Other males came and attempted a takeover but he stood firm and defended with everything in him to keep sole ownership of his breeding grounds.
Female after female showed up til mid-July, and Ziggy was aware of every one that made an appearance. Each one of them chose a nesting area far enough away from Ziggy's garden, but close enough for the odd long distance feed.
July 20th brought our first pair of young hummingbirds. They were greeted by 3 angry males that Ziggy had come to terms with. The young Rubies fluttered and frolicked among the flowers, but learned quickly that others had a bit less playful attitude than they did. They quickly learned to be angry as did all the other young ones that eventually showed up.
It didn't take long before the migration was in full swing. Males, females and young started showing up from everywhere, including one lone drifter from well out of territory. The fighting was fierce for a month, but then the numbers started to dwindle. One by one they started to answer their calling and headed towards a place they'd never known.
August 29th had 2 lone females in the garden. The next morning one left early, and the other sat in the trees and gave out the odd chirp, expecting a reply from another, but there was nothing but silence. She ruffled her feathers to protect herself from the cool N.W. wind until the sunrise gave her a bit of relief. She fed heavily and then perched. Minutes later she did the same. Her behavior was an indication that she received her personal memo.
One more long feed and she was stuffed to the brim. She shook off her lazy feathers, pointed her bill to the sky and waited for one brisk gust from the N.W. to give her a boost. She spread out her tail feathers to help support the added weight she'd just drank, as she lifted off. She did a slight dip towards the ground, but slowly gained elevation. She pointed her bill to the direction of her path, raised high into the sky, and slowly faded to a memory.
Here was an image of her blending into the changing leaves. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. August 30, 2018.
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