Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Journey South

Good Morning little hummer, (Archilochus colubris). Have you come to say goodbye? How do you hover, beating your wings 55 times per second, with such exquisite control, looking at me eye to eye? Truly you are unique among birds. Your common name Ruby Throated Hummingbird doesn’t do you justice. It should be “brilliant- dazzling-ruby-throat”. I hope you enjoyed my yard this summer. I will try to plant more red and orange flowers which you love to dip your long tongue in to sip nectar. Have you feasted to keep up your high metabolism? As you migrate I am sure you will find plenty more flowers because of your good color vision that can even see into the ultraviolet spectrum.

They used to think that you hitchhiked on the backs of geese, but I have done my research and found that is a myth. You actually fly south 30 miles per hours using your wings and brains to catch thermals. Your flight muscles make up 25 percent of your body weight and your wings are connected to your body only from the shoulder joint allowing your wings to rotate almost 180 degrees so you can fly in all directions. In those strong high winds, do you flop about like a leaf in a storm or do you spread your tiny blade like wings and soar like a golden eagle? Do you find enough food along the way? I’ll ask my aunt and cousins to leave their feeders up just a little longer incase you stop by on the way south.

I’m going to miss your visits to my deck and your close inspection to see if I am writing about you. Your migration is a long one along the coast and onto Florida, the Outer Banks, Mexico, Central America and even the Caribbean Islands. Be sure to tank up before making your extraordinary 8-hour nonstop crossing of the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve heard you might have friends there as well. Your loyalty to my yard is appreciated. I’ll see you again in the spring and will track your return on the migration map at http://www.hummingbirds.net/index.html. Have a good flight. Bon Voyage.



See more ABC Wednesday here.

13 comments:

RuneE said...

The geese departed i August - most of the others have soon left us. Winter is approaching :-(

Sylvia K said...

Ah, yes! Winter is indeed on the way! Although it's supposed to be 90 today in Seattle! Amazing!

Have a great day!

Sylvia

Carol said...

Oh, what an interesting post and a clever take on J... enjoyed this info, and am heading to the link you posted...

Your EG Tour Guide said...

The hummingbirds have headed south from here but otherwise the autumn journey hasn't started here yet. Yes, winter is on it's way.

Woodswalker said...

Truly one of nature's marvels, that tiny bird. And so pugnacious! How they squabble over the feeder, sometimes. Yet, when they gather to migrate, they seem to get along. I was startled one day while paddling the river past a stand of Cardinal Flowers that seemed to be buzzing with a swarm of bees. But the buzzers turned out to be hummers, at least a dozen all together, stoking up on nectar for their long migration.

Roger Owen Green said...

Winter's approaching for sure. Nice take on the topic.

Anonymous said...

I love your hummingbird picture, Squirrel!

magiceye said...

unique take on J
lovely!

Carolyn H said...

Squirrel,

I'm always impressed by migration of any kind, but the hummers really impress me. Those tiny little things that use so much energy during the day they virtually hibernate instead of sleep. Yes, off they go, for thousands of miles. Amazing, isnt' it?

Carolyn H.

Jay said...

A good post! And a real jewel of a bird, is he not?

I've never seen a live one, you know. I'm deprived. :(

Q said...

The male hummers left a couple of weeks ago. I still have a few females and juveniles coming to the feeders. Like you I will miss them...
Safe journey!
Sherry

Trillium said...

Your love for the hummers shines through. What big hearts they must have. I'm glad I don't have to make that harrowing journey. All the more precious to see them each summer.

Tumblewords: said...

Ours have left for the season. I adore them - fascinating and mesmerizing. They each have their own personality and it surprises me to see how many hours I can sit and watch. Lovely post!