July 30, 2017

We’ve had a lone male Ruby-throated Hummingbird in our back yard since late March.  A couple of days ago, I saw the first female Ruby-throated of the season.  She hovered all around the nectar feeder, which is hanging just outside our breakfast nook, but didn’t succeed in getting any nectar.  She showed up again this morning, and was partaking of the nectar when the male dive-bombed her.  She flew off.  The male then patrolled the nectar feeder zealously, keeping watch from a bare branch of the evergreen wisteria growing on top of the pergola.  The female did not try to approach the nectar feeder.

So I hung up a second nectar feeder, underneath the pergola and out of sight of the male’s favorite perching branch.  A couple of hours later, the female had alighted on it and was taking a leisurely nectar break.  The male, clueless, was on his perching branch, still making sure the female didn’t approach the first nectar feeder.

Unusually for summer, we had heavy rain this morning, starting before 5:00 a.m. and continuing until mid-morning.  The skies stayed overcast most of the day and the temperature didn’t hit 80 degrees until mid-afternoon–a welcome change.

After the rain slacked off, many birds came out to the feeders.  At one point, I counted seven House Finches, one adult male and at least two juveniles.  There were also several juvenile Northern Cardinals, at least two female and one male. Mr. and Mrs.  Red-bellied Woodpecker came to feed at the same time, she hanging upside on the cage around the mixed-nut cylinder and he clinging to the suet feeder.  By far the most popular feeder was the seed tube feeder.  I used to have a cage fitted around it to keep out the bigger birds.  I’ve since removed the top part of the cage but left the bottom as a sort of platform.  Thus able to gain purchase, a couple of Mourning Doves parked on the feeder for several minutes today.   A Blue Jay and two juveniles also showed up, the adult at the feeder and the juveniles on a nearby branch, fluttering their damp wings.

Later in the day I saw the male and female Ruby-throateds, separately, at the second nectar feeder.

In the late afternoon the juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker showed up at the cage around the mixed-nut cylinder.  It clung to the sides of the cage and so was unable to get at the mixed nuts.  It gave up and flew to the suet feeder–the back of it.   It took it several minutes to figure out that it couldn’t peck its way through the plastic holder to get at the suet.  Finally it came around to the front and was able to get mouthfuls of suet.  Mrs. Red-bellied showed up again and clung to the bottom of the cage around the mixed-nut cylinder, easily able to get her beak (and tongue) up to the suet.  We’ll see whether junior was paying attention.

Near end of day I spotted a Yellow-throated Warbler in my neighbor’s grapefruit tree.  Earlier this year one used to eat at the suet feeder.  Sometimes the birds are like that.  A bird that doesn’t normally approach the feeders will decide it likes suet, like the Yellow-throated, or mixed nuts, as a Northern Parula did once.  And we still have one safflower-seed-eating squirrel that comes around.