I have heard that the feeders, having only sugars and not aminoacids, were actually harmful for the birds. The explanation being that they get all fed up and not getting all the nutrients they need. Have you read or seen anything about that?
Nothing brings out the pedants quite like bird ids. Wanted to point out that all of these photos are of adult male rubythroats. Like other iridescent birds, their colour is dependent on feather structure instead of pigment, and requires a light source (appearing black when in shadow). A female or juvenile male will have a white throat.
Everyone knows that monkeys like to wake up in the morning and chow down on a nice bowl full of these little puff balls (with a generous portion of milk poured over them). Any post about hummingbirds is already about monkeys, even if it isn’t mentioned.
The sad confession for today is that hummingbirds do scare the heck out of me every time I run into them because for a split second I think it is a giant bee. My vision is not bad enough to motivate me to wear my glasses full time, but just bad enough to cause this sort of confusion more often than average.
It is rather fascinating that some birds have evolved to fill a role which is normally for insects. And, though all official hummingbirds are closely related, Wikipedia mentions a couple other groups of birds which have evolved varying wills and abilities to do the same (including hovering).
It is rather fascinating that some birds have evolved to fill a role which is normally for insects.
We don’t have hummingbirds where I live, but we do have large hawk-moths that look, fly and feed surprisingly like hummingbirds. So what we have two different phyla filling the same niche, and producing a very similar shape from a totally different body pattern. Amazing.
I live in BC, Canada — and although our winter weather is usually quite mild, there is the occasional cold-snap that freezes the feeders, so my mom lets the hummers inside until it passes by putting a feeder just inside the window.
She has branches and a fake tree inside (in which they perch & sleep at night ), provides sugar water feeders, flowering plants, a small bird bath, and even live fruit flies! Although they are territorial, she’s had as many as 5 at once – peacefully co-existing without incident.
We’ve even heard a male doing a beautiful warbly song! Here is a photo I took several years ago — you can see a 2nd hummingbird in the background.