Sunday, May 25, 2008

Motion Blur

In a brief burst of hovering, at least two hummingbirds have returned to our backyard. The nectar feeder has been out for a short period of time and it is not frequently visited by a somewhat anonymous friend who is both camera shy and frustratingly devoid of identifying features. While I have been able to snap his picture with a wingstroke of luck, one distant shot only shows his baleful glare amid of a fluff of gossamer white and green feathers, and the other, while a delightful close up, is on such a cloudy day that no light source is available to give me better odds of learning his true identity. My best guess is that he may be a Calliope Hummingbird, the smallest bird in North America and not unknown in this region, but he may also be a fledgling of several hummingbird varieties, and thus the indentification difficulties.

He is a bizarre puff of feathers, however. Last summer, the hummingbirds who regularly visited sipped well at the feeder but rarely stayed on the property beyond using it as a fruit-flavored bar. This new friend is hesitated at the feeder but will perch in the nearby tree for long periods while he scopes out the vicinity. Should he spot anyone other than a fellow avian nearby, he is gone in a burst of wingbeats.

Being nestled between mountain ranges, Utah does not get as many hummingbirds in spring and early summer as will visit in later summer and fall. This is because many of the migratory paths of these tiny birds take them north along the Pacific Coast, while their autumnal routes are more inland and hence through Utah. By August, I should see a great number of hummingbirds in clearly identifiable plumage visiting the yard.

1 comment:

Cany said...

I just love hummers. For two years in a row I was able to watch their near suicide mating courting dives in the neighbors airspace, below my house--spactacular!