Female Anna's Hummingbird feeding on Crocosmia

 

“... And they definitely have their favourite plants... Bee Balm and Red Columbine, Pineapple Sage, Fuchsia, and Cardinal Vine. You should see them go berserk over red Crocosmia.”

Humming at the feeder: a small, green bird. “A female Anna,” Kiwi said, “handsome, but not what we’re here for.”

The little hummer took its fill at the crimson bar counter ...”


Male Rufous Hummingbird

... The Rufous come during spring and summer to raise their hatchlings; then they migrate to Mexico. They are smaller than the Annas, about eight centimetres, bronze and rust coloured with white chests. And when the light hits them right, the
males’ throat patches flare up bright orange.” Kiwi smiled. “Very much like my hair. They are feisty guys, territorial, with pretty hot temperaments ...”


Male Anna's Hummingbird at a feeder

“... How do they know there’s food in there?”
“Science tells us they have no sense of smell at all,” Kiwi said and 

grinned. “That they go by the look of things. But I’m not that sure,

I know they can distinguish somehow between plain water and

sugar-water. Maybe they can only smell sweet. Fact is, they’re

naturally nosy and will scout out any possible source of food ...”


Nesting Hummingbird

“... Here, look.” Kiwi parted the twigs: Among the needle tufts perched a grey-green cup, barely bigger than a walnut; upholstered with fluff and downs. “They use spider silk in the construction,” whispered Kiwi.

“It allows the nest to expand with the growing chicks. Notice how it’s camouflaged with lichen.” Kiwi pointed at the two white jellybeans nestling in the cozy lining. “They typically lay two eggs ...”


Banding Box

“... In the beginning I was very nervous. How do you hold such a tiny creature? They weigh less than four grams, you know. But now I don’t need more than two minutes for checking and banding.” Kiwi opened her metal box. Two compartments slid sideways revealing tools and gadgets. “First, I take the bird out of the trap. Once they lie on their back in your hand, they usually don’t move anymore ..."