Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Hummingbirds Return To Pure Florida!

There is something very comforting about having a cool drink at a favorite pub.
Of course, it's important to drink responsibly. Getting tipsy could prove embarrassing.
Yes, we saw you. At least you weren't wearing a flower blossom on your head and humming show tunes.
Yesterday, I took the empty hummingbird feeder down from the porch hanger and gave it a good cleaning. I refilled it with hummer nectar solution and replaced it just in case the hummers were back. I've seen swallowtail kites for almost a month now, but I was missing our flashy tropical mini-migrants.
It took about one hour before the first hummer showed up at the feeder. I was on the porch peeling coontie seeds (tedium) and snipping bamboo for a new mason bee house when ...bzzzzzzzz!
My camera was right beside me. Wiping the orange coontie goo off my hands, I turned slowly, switched it on, and turned back to face the feeder just 7 feet away.
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzt! Zip, away he went.
No picture.
I adjusted a chair, sat down facing the feeder with my camera in my lap, and waited. It only took about 15 minutes. This time I was ready and got a few pics. He (they?) continued to return all afternoon ... sometimes I was ready, sometimes too busy, but I did add a few more pics to the portfolio.
In the yard, I have shrimp plant, and coral honeysuckle blooming right now. The coral bean plants are sending up flower spikes that are on the cusp of blooming as of yesterday. My trumpet creeper will bloom later in the season. I like the feeder, but I feel it's very important to have lots of real flower nectar sources available to them also.
A quick GOOGLE search came up with this basic IFAS handout about Florida hummers and this interesting site, Humming Bird Research .
Apparently Florida has more hummer variety than I expected. All I ever see are the ruby-throats.
Today, beauty ... tomorrow, the beast!
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roger said...

the hummers returned here about a week ago. our garden stuff is a bit behind you. it was 29 degrees here yesterday morn, but sunny and warm during the day. our datils are still alive.

vicki said...

You are such an inspiration to me in my Florida home- I'm out to fill the hummer feeder for the first time now. And your pictures just keep getting better and better, FC.

Oh- And I love that you have Instant Ocean in your shed. :-)

Came by yesterday but after reading your post I a) felt embarrassed because lately I've been guilty of " drivel blogs" and b) I hopped right over to Paddle Tales and fell asleep reading her archives- so I didn't come back to comment and thank you. Thanks for the link.

pissed off patricia said...

We used to have hummingbirds but as of late I haven't seen any. We have all the native plant attractions in the yard but no sightings. Hopefully they sneak in and I just miss them. We used to have one that visited our feeder then he would perch on a tree and preen. If only I had had my camera back then.

We have two pairs of kites that are going to nest near here. I actually saw them making sweet kite love the other day in a pine tree. I felt I shouldn't be watching, but I did.

Deb said...

That's a pretty feeder; it's a bit more classy than the plastic ones.

I still have a month or so before I get my hummer feeders out.

And, what are coontie seeds?

Floridacracker said...

they may have (probably were) here early, but i didn't see them til yesterday. i have last year's datil plant growing strong, but no blossoms yet.

Thanks Vicki!
Trust me, yours is a drivel free blog. (man do I regret that statement ... thanks Robin for gently pointing it out)
I enjoyed your tourney posts, even printed out a bit for Mrs. FC.

I need to mix up a bit of Instant Ocean as I feel a collecting trip coming on.

Floridacracker said...

I have never seen a swallowtail kite perched ... ever. Soaring, swooping, hovering, but never landing.
Pretty cool for you!

About the feeder, well you know we are all about frufru glitz here at Pure Florida ...
Coontie = a native cycad. The fruit covering the seed contains growth inhibitors, so if you want to plant it and not wait years for it to sprout, you remove the sticky goo.

robin andrea said...

Do you make your own hummer nectar? I use a recipe from the Cornell U birding website. It's really easy, just water and sugar in a 4:1 ratio. Water needs to be boiled. That's it.

We only have one species of hummingbird that visits our yard. The Rufous, a little red beauty. They show up in mid to late March, peek in the back door to announce their arrival, and then wait for the feeders to appear.

threecollie said...

Oh my, hummers, flowers, caterpillars, oh for spring...we just got a winter storm warning by email. Oh dear....great photos, you really have a knack!

Cathy said...

Coontie goo and a beast on the way. OOhhhh. This is good. (Now I'll go 'google' Coontie.) Love the tipsy hummer. Florida is wonderful this time of year.

Floridacracker said...

It's a commercial blend, but it is essentially the same 1:4 mix of sugar and water.

It'll get there ... be strong!

Floridacracker said...

You can also search this site. I've written about it a few times.

rcwbiologist said...

Great shots. Thanks for the hummer update, I've been expecting them up here in the Carolinas any day. Is that a Schodt design feeder? Those are my favorite.

Floridacracker said...

Red Cockaded Woodpecker Biologist,
Uh oh, I don't know about the feeder ... it was a gift. It seems to work well and is easy to clean.
Welcome to Pure Florida!
Hope I guessed that correctly.

Cathy S. said...

What are you doing on line so much today? Isn't it your spring break? While the rest of us are slaving away at our jobs indoors without windows, we are depending on you for some action. Go canoeing, go hiking, go fishing or clamming, garden or build something. Don't sit and vegetate on the computer for pete's sake!!!!! We are counting on you!

Floridacracker said...

Cathy S,
Yes maam.
Actually, I duck in every once in a while.
So far, I've made three mason bee houses, worked in the garden (I have pics!), made spaghetti, photo'd the hummers again, and paid some bills.
I was just telling Kate, "this rainy front is taking too much time getting here. I should have ignored the weather forecast and hit the Gulf."
Maybe I still will ...

rcwbiologist said...

Your guess was correct!

Thunder Dave said...

Cool pics!
Well, Spring in Ohio still holds true! We dropped 40 degrees(F) in 4 hours yesterday (from 80F to 40F). I thought for sure we'd get a more violent storm out of it then we did!

I'm going to try to remember to grab the camera and get a hops report out there, even if I do gotta wear my Parka!

Dr. Know said...

Saw the first RT hummer yesterday.
Robins built a nest chest height on the arbor I built last year. Pics on my site. We're gonna have babies!

Instant Ocean - Hmmm... Used to keep reef and marine native aquariums as well when I lived in Florida. Keep dutch planted tanks now.

Great pictures of a difficult subject!

Doug said...

Beautiful pictures, and a very cool site. We won't have hummers up here in cold Illinois (where it snowed today) for some time now.

My partner loves cycads and has tried (unsuccessfully) to germinate coontie seed before. Is there a trick beyond peeling the red, fleshy part off? Also, do you get atala butterflies living on yours, or are you too far north for them?

Cathy S. said...

Sorry. I have boys. Go outside and play and turn off the TV/Computer/Radio is my mantra.

Floridacracker said...

I thought it must be. We have a 45,000 acre state forest called Goethe near here that was purchased to protect their habitat.

You know we daily posters roll our eyes when you monthly types say you're gonna post ;)

Thanks. I'll have to check out your nest. I keep native marine critters in my class and hold some here on a sporadic basis.

Welcome to Pure Florida!
I think I'm too far north for the atala.
I have just stuck them in the ground, but I believe nicking the seed coat is recommended to speed germination.

Cathy S,
We think alike. I add "turn off the A/C, it's not that hot!"
They think I'm insane, but I was raised in FL without A/C.

SophieMae said...

What a great reward for your patience! We get mostly RT's here, but we have had an occasional Rufous. One lady in Tallahassee has had at least 4, maybe 5, types at her feeders.

Cathy S. said...

Oh, you are so not affected by menopause and hot flashes. I was raised in Florida ,too, but my family wears sweaters year round inside! Crank down the AC, who cares how much it costs? We will save power on the TV and computer. I am dying here. :0)

Thunder Dave said...

I hear ya!
But hey man if you had a "real" job...

I'm just kidding of course!
I can honestly say that I have the utmost respect for you teaching types! Getting up in front of a group of my peers to talk is easy compared to trying to hold the attention of 20+ teen agers day after day after day.

The problem is that there's really not much that's exciting enough to write about up here, so I try to save them until I get enough to be noteworthy. Well, ok noteworthy to me is probably still boring to most. I mean come on, how many people get that excited watching hops grow! ;-)

Thunder Dave said...

Oh, I forgot to give you the Ohio "Spring" update:

We started at 30F today and should be down to 22F tonight. I'm not sure, but I think that's going in the wrong direction! ;-)

Floridacracker said...

They do seem to be fairly tolerant if you hold still. I've had the nose to beak encounter when pruning the shrimp plants a few times.

Cathy S,
I don't know what's funnier about your comment ... the idea that a husband is not affected by a menopausal wife ... or the way your comment exactly matched our situation around here!

Floridacracker said...

Well, you know what they say, "those who can do and those who can't teach"

It's 63 here and greyish, but by this afternoon, it will be blue.
You kill me. You travel to Europe like it's a trip to the 7-11 and you think that's not interesting?

You're one wild and crazy guy.

Cathy S. said...

We had to get rid of our waterbed. I was making the water boil. My husband said it was like being a hotdog on that rolling grill at the gas station. My sympathies to your wife and to you, too!!!!

Floridacracker said...


Sharon said...

I snapped a hummer in Mandarin Garden Club today, and I was googling to try and ID it and this popped up...imagine that! LOL!