I know what you’re thinking.
I know because I am semi-psychic but also because we ALL know I did this other huge hummingbird post last week, with that movie about the hummingbird and the crocosmia… But just stop shaking your head like that because today’s post is completely different. FYI I have since tamed the bird, and now she is my pet hummingbird, Francine. (Do not ask how I tamed Francine. It is a secret that we hummingbird whisperers never divulge.)
Francine is vastly changed–she responds to commands.
Francine is a Rufous Hummingbird. She eats tons of insects as well as sweet flower nectar. There is actually a lot of speculation about hummingbird diets, which can sometimes include tree sap, and ripe fruit. (One day I made her a fruit salad for supper, but it was tiny–she only weighs about as much as a small coin.)
In winter Francine must pack her bags and fly south to Mexico, or at least to Florida, where she can sit in the sun and possibly enjoy very good salsa in local restaurants. (I kind of think she made up that restaurant part.) Still it’s a long trip for a little (three-inch) bird who flies about 34 mph (54 km/h)–although that speed looks like a rocket when she’s flying around in my garden with her wings moving 70-80 times every second. (There is a very distinctive “hum” or whirring sound from all that wing motion; when I hear that sound I know to look for her.)
Isn’t that cute how her tail does a kind of right angle sometimes?
Hummingbirds are attracted to red and orange, which pretty much explains the crocosmia link. Also maybe the salsa…
In the early spring Francine will come back from the south and nest again and lay two tiny white eggs, often high in an evergreen tree. (A typical hummingbird lifespan is only three to five years, but I expect Francine to live much longer than that.)
Here’s a trick she loves….
It’s a kind of peekaboo game and it always makes her laugh, plus it lets you see the irridescent green color of her back.
There now you can see her pretty front colors. The boy birds in her life look different, with lots of reddish feathers on their heads.
Hummingbirds are the only birds which can truly hover and also fly backwards and upside down. They can do this because their wings rotate at the shoulder. (It takes a kind of figure-eight motion to hover– you might try it…)
Francine is known, among hummingbirds, as a remarkable beauty.
In spite of that she is very responsible and disciplined. She has a tiny nest (about an inch and a half wide), somewhere so secret that I don’t even know where it’s hidden although I think I know the oak tree. It’s likely made of spider silk and thistle down and moss and cozy things like that and was built entirely by Francine after that boy bird left for who knows where. Anyway she can’t stay and visit too long because of the two little half-inch eggs, or maybe the two tiny chicks.
Most of these pictures of Francine can be enlarged. Click on them once, and then again to make them bigger. She said to tell you hello, and, if you live between Oregon and Mexico, to ask that you maybe put out a winter hummingbird feeder so she can stop for lunch on her way south.