This wasn't the first time this happened, but it was the first time I witnessed every detail up close, from start to finish. I just had to share so people understand the importance of feeders with hummingbirds. A lot of people still tell me that their hummingbirds don't go to feeders, but there's really a simple explanation.
Many of the hummingbirds in my yard had already graduated to the mature food, but this little guy was a recent arrival to our garden. He was only about 1-2 days from the nest and was very familiar with the wide assortment of flowers blanketing our garden. He kept returning because of our massive choice in nectar rich flowers. He would return especially to the Nasturtium vines, but would see many birds fly overhead to this red object directly above him. He would squeak every time others would show up, but only to keep them from his flowers.
Then someone flipped the switch. "What is that thing that all the others are interested in?" He flew up and seriously admired every feature about this object, but never stuck his beak in the flower. He tried it again in about 10 seconds, but this time he noticed the flower. He approached it cautiously, but only got within 4 inches of the flower and turned away. Within another 10 minutes he attempted it again. "There's got to be something special about this thing that I'm just not getting?". This time stuck his beak in very quickly, but pulled back just as fast. I could then see that little tongue licking it's bill like never before. He analyzed the taste and with NO hesitation inserted the beak again. He believed he found a goldmine. He sat in the flowers, tried to perch on top of the feeder, and licked it from top to bottom. Life was different from this moment on. Like with other hummingbirds, the feeder now became top priority. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta. 2015.
Author of Jewel of the North. Please post your comments and questions.