With just the slightest tilt of his head, those little sparkles of ruby color will turn into a glowing patch of metallic brilliance.
The adult males will be the first to arrive in regions all across North America. Their appearance can dramatically change mainly due to the amount of light that reflects off the feathers. You may think you are getting different birds each time, and you may very well, but the same bird can look very different in different light. The same male can show just a black throat, to a slight hint of red sparkle, to the most beautiful ruby color you've ever seen. Especially in Spring time, adult males have the most perfect feathers. Those spikey pin feathers that can look ragged and rough in late fall soon push out a brand new look, just ready to impress for Spring mating. As the season goes on, those brilliant ruby throats slowly break down, losing that glistening ruby sheen to a point where they show more of a duller orange appearance in late Summer and Fall.
With the migration in full swing, gardens across the Southern U.S. are now seeing their first Rubies. Expect the adult males to show up first, and the females soon to follow.
The images are of the same bird with just a slight difference in the tilt of his head and a morning stretch in the tail feathers. They also flare out the tail to intimidate. He's Ziggy, an adult male Ruby-throat hummingbird. I hope to see him again this Spring, but he has to be getting near retirement after 3 years of returns to our garden.
N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. May 2016 and May 2017.
Author of Jewel of the North. Please post your comments and questions.