Monday, April 25, 2011


Him taking a very long drink. Notice how his cheek feathers are red/copper.

This is him after I patiently awaited . Notice how there are no cheek feathers.

Here he is hiding on the other side of my feeder. Notice his cheek feathers are yellow now.

As I was waiting for my very slow dial up to go from one site to another, I looked at my Hummingbird feeder and saw a rusty colored Hummingbird. I had never ever seen this little gem before. I knew he was very different from the other Hummingbirds I have seen over the many years I’ve had a Hummingbird feeder.

He seemed to love my nectar in my feeder because he stayed a very long time to slurp up at each stay. I just had to get a closer look to make sure this was indeed a stranger. Sure enough, with his white under his chin and a rusty/buff breast with beautiful iridescent feathers in copper on his cheeks.

Since he stayed a long time, I was sure to remember all of his markings and when he left, I went to my bird book and found out his name was a Bahama Woodstar. That’s right, he flew all the way from the Bahamas on this year’s migration!

The Hummingbirds here in Northern California are more likely to migrate during the winter months. The Hummingbirds in Southern California’s high desert, where I lived, tend to stay because of the warmth and lack of water and flowers, so they keep frequenting the Hummingbird feeders.

I realized that that’s the way it is up here. A lady with a display table at a plant sale they were having, which I visited before the UC Davis gardening class a couple weeks ago, had a table with just photos of different Hummingbirds and she gave me the whole spiel on how Hummingbirds here in Northern California migrate every year. I learned a lot, and then this happened, and soon found out that this was all so true.

I’ve noticed lately there have been a lot more Hummingbirds. I kept my feeder out the whole winter, but very few stayed and for several weeks at the end of winter and into Spring, there were none at all.

As this Bahamian visitor kept visiting my feeder about every five to ten minutes, I decided I’d try to get a photo of him. A got my camera focused on the feeder where he would sit and unfortunately I got a bit too close and he saw me and stayed on the other site of the feeder whenever he came back to feed. He tried hiding from me, but I was patient and determined to get a photo, any photo, of him.

My persistence paid off, because after about three trips to my feeder, he must have forgotten about me being a threat through my dirty windows. So I took photos of this bird and got different iridescent feather colors on his cheeks. Originally I saw copper, then I saw yellow, then I saw dark red. His body colors and marking stayed the same, so I know for sure this was the same bird.

I again referred to my bird book and it definitely showed me that this bird was an immature male and showed two photos of red and copper feather colors on his cheeks. The female is less colorful on the cheeks.

During the intervals of this Bahama Woodstar, another Hummingbird frequented my feeder. He was a Black Chinned Hummingbird.

Only these two visited today and maybe another one or two, but it seems they’re starting their migration, just like the lady at the plant show had told me they would. In October, they’ll start back down south. I’ll know better this year to take the feeder down.

The lady at the plant sale also said she lives a little bit further up the hill off the 50 Freeway going to Lake Tahoe and she has several feeders. She said she gets so many Hummingbirds coming back each year that she has to go to Cosco to get several bags of 20 lbs. of sugar for their nectar because she goes through so much sugar to make the Hummingbird nectar, it’s cheaper.

So I’ll be watching my feeder for any other new Hummingbirds that come to visit.

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