Birds go through a season of molting where they lose the feathers that have taken a real beating over the breeding season. Those feathers start off brilliant in color and in perfect condition just at the right time for mating. They show off their brilliance in their displays, and frequently fight others for the rights to territories and breeding opportunities. Those seemingly delicate feathers are incredibly durable to withstand rain, sun, fighting and flying. They do, however, start to fade as the season goes on. The tips of the feathers, although tough, start to fray, while many break down and lose the ability to marry together to form the air tight shield that allows them to fly. But beautifully built within their DNA, they shed the tattered feathers and begin new growth in time for the next breeding season.
This is the time we see them arrive. They show up in our gardens, dressed in their best, to put on a show, attract mates, and perform the task they were created to do.
This is Ziggy, the dominant male Ruby-throat hummingbird over the past several seasons. He sits confidently on one of his many perches, while he soaks up some sun and views his garden. Every feather reflects beautiful iridescence, and while he's already put on several thousand miles on these feathers, they are in pristine condition to impress all that notice him.
May 26th, 2018. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada