Thursday, December 31, 2009

Anna's & Costa's Hummingbirds in the backyard

There's no shortage of these vociferous / pugnacious / territorial little avians in my backyard. Anna's link. Costa's link. Wearing red framed sun glasses on a Brightly Sunny Day while doing yoga poolside draws buzzing high velocity fly-bys - sometimes as close as 1 foot away - simultaneously very cool & slightly un-nerving when trying to maintain balance on one foot. We also get occasional broad tailed (link here) and I've seen some immature Black-chinned hummingbirds as well (link here).

The Ruby Throateds (link here) that we saw every year in South Carolina and occasionally in Indiana have not yet crossed the Rockies. What I used to THINK were Lucifer hummingbirds (link here and to my error here last year) do not have the curved bills, and have not been spotted above Southern Tucson - they're actually Costa's and Black-chinned.

Alongside - or in competition with these guys - are several varieties of Warbler Verdins (link here), Vireos (link here), Dusky Flycatchers (link here), and Phoebes (link here) who jockey for room at the nectar feeders. Only the hummingbirds can guzzle, but the other non-hover-ers do their best to try and eek out a drop here or there, pecking away. There's even a marauding trio of very persistent Cassin's Finches (link here) who have learned to pull out the yellow "bee guard" flowers on the older feeders.

The Flycatchers and Phoebes have helped to cut down on the flies who are drawn to the pool after a rare Arizona rain storm, and the Verdins and Vireos, which are not much bigger than the hummingbirds, bring a beautiful variety of songs and calls into the back yard.

Now, if we can just keep the messy pigeons out of the back yard, and up on the roof tops so the Hawks (link here) and Falcons (link here) can have some easy, plump, lethargic pickings - it's one reason I've talked Dr Desert Flower out of installing a large fountain which the pigeons would flock to as a bird bath (our pool is too deep for bird bathing).

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