It's been an unusual year for weather in Western Canada, and I'm sure across many regions of the continent. Farm fields have been forgotten as snow has blanketed most of them and left us wondering where Autumn has gone and why the temperatures have been 10-20 degrees below the norm. A Colder than normal Spring and Fall has provided us with just a few months worth remembering. Now we are expecting temperatures to return to normal over the next week or more. Somethings just refuse to be controlled by weather, and still continue to follow the plans laid out before them, such as migratory birds. Last night in the dark as I took one last deep breath of the fresh air before coming indoors, I heard the song of Cranes flying overhead. I couldn't see, but only heard them. What many may find interesting is that in the last 7 days I've had 4 different hummingbirds reported to me here in Alberta, Canada. I find this fascinating as food sources have diminished to nearly nothing, and yet hummingbirds continue to remain resourceful in finding food. One Rufous has been reported to me as recently Oct 11th and may still be around.
Although weather can appear daunting to us, birds of all species have a clearer picture as to what foods remain during the most difficult periods of bad weather. I find it incredible how hummingbirds can endure these times when the temperature has dropped below freezing every day for the last few weeks. Hummingbirds have been spotted licking sap from trees, extracting sugar from ripened apples, and who knows what other resources they seek out in the difficult times. I do know this - that birds have been given abilities that we haven't even begun to understand, and until the day that each and every one of them is called to their homes in the South, they will remain right where they're at until given the memo.
Here is one of my top 20 pictures from this last summer. I love the motion of the wings and yet the stillness of the body of this young male Ruby-throat hummingbird as it searches out nectar hidden in a Zinnia flower.
N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. July 28, 2018.