SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!

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It was pouring hard today,we’re talking biblical! I got suspicious when I saw the animals beginning to pair up.

We have regular visitors staying during the winter.A handful of Anna’s hummingbirds winter over where I live.They like my spot because the feeder is out of the rain.So they can just hang out & chill when its pouring. They come from California.Why they hang out  here in the cold when they could be hanging out in a much warmer place is beyond me?

This is a adult male Anna’s.I think he just arrived because all the other hummers have been getting along just fine.They share the feeder with each other no problem.This guy however decided to park his butt on my bikes mirror & guard “his” feeder! If another hummer came by he’d fly up in a shot & ward them off.He’d than fly back to his mirror perch & continue to stand guard!

 

HOW TO GET A HUMMER TO LAND ON YOUR FINGER

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I’ve noticed that the Hummers go into a feeding frenzy near sunset.I suspect they do it at sunrise too but I’m too lazy to find that out?

I wondered If I could get one them to land on my finger? Hummers have to be one of the most skittish creatures out there! The slightest movement can make them take off in a blur!

So I tried to think of a way I could get one these beautiful creatures to land on my finger?Holding ones arm out is difficult after a few minutes.So you need a brace for your arm.I used a monopod but you can use a tripod or a pole.

I’ve noticed over the last few nights that they go into a feeding frenzy around 7:45pm.So I set up some lights for filming earlier & waited.

Once I saw them starting to “flock”I turned on the camera & placed my finger near the feeding station. It took couple of minutes for one to land but was worth it.I could feel it’s little heart beating so fast! Their tiny talons are sharp but do not dig in. The hardest thing I found was the cold! Their wings are beating so fast that the breeze coming off chilled my hand!

The brown hummers with a dark throat patch are the male Rufous.The female are the ones with spots on their throat.

The Anna’s are the green ones.The males have a throat patch & the females have spots like the Rufous.The Anna’s are much larger than Rufous btw.

“SHORTY’S” BACK!

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The “Anna’s” Hummingbirds are arriving for the winter. I recognized one that arrived yesterday.He likes to perch on my bike mirror.He’s also familiar with me.He doesn’t take off If I approach the sliding door. I call him “Shorty” because he looks smaller than normal.I’ve found when they are very relaxed with their surroundings,they relax their spines & so slump lower.Blue Herons do the same thing.When the head goes up straight like a periscope,thats when they are very attentive.

It was pouring here today.So “Shorty” likes to perch on my mirror.There is an overhang above,so the rain doesn’t come in.He likes to perch there & stay out of the rain.

He also keeps the other hummers from his food source.He’s staked his territory & is protecting it!

INTRODUCING…………..”CHARLOTTE” (“LI’L CHIRPY’S” GIRLFRIEND)

20141219-IMG_3069-220141219-IMG_3074-2Once again our winter weather prevented me from getting out on the water & land!
I saw “Charlotte” coming around for a drink & decided to set up my camera/tripod. I didn’t have to wait too long! Which is great because I’ve found my arms can go numb after 5 minutes. Holding my arms up will drain the blood from my arms.
If a hummer comes & my hands are down by my side,the hummer can get nervous & fly off if they see me moving to my camera! The trick is to move “slowly” or keep your hands on the camera. I prefer keeping my hands on the camera myself.
I’ve found if the hummingbird knows me,they are less apt to freak out & be more calm.
I’ve also found that if I move while they are drinking it’s better,than when they are just resting looking around.
Hummingbirds are a very sensitive lot!
Charlotte hardly flinched when I took my first shot. They can get scared when the flash goes off & they hear the mirror slap.
But like I say,”if” they get to know you they are calm enough to just keep drinking & not be bothered by the light & noise!
I sometimes just stand in the door opening & watch them. It’s not only cool to watch them come & go but also a great way of introducing myself to them.
I’ve found if I’m home,”Li’l Chirpy” will face towards my apartment so he can see me,but if I go out,I’ve found he’s facing outwards away from the apartment! As if he’s waiting for me to come home?

LITTLE CHIRPY!

20141218-IMG_305420141218-IMG_3055It poured here today,so there was no way I was gong out in my boat or even the beach!
I saw “Li’l Chirpy” perched outside my door & thought I’d take a few shots.When it’s pouring out,he likes to perch out of the rain & chill. He believes that my feeder is his & defends it from any other hummer!
So I was pleasantly surprised to see a second hummer drinking away & “Li’l Chirpy” not only didn’t mind but chased away a interloper! I tried to take some shots of the this second hummer but unfortunately none of them turned out sharp.(the light was getting low)
However,I could see that this second hummer was a female! So it looks like “Li’l Chirpy” has a girlfriend!

“Li’l CHIRPY”

20141208-IMG_237520141208-IMG_237620141208-IMG_2378 I’ve got three Anna’s Hummingbirds coming to my feeder so far! They come & go all day long! So,today was rather blustery! We are having our first big wind storm of the season! This hummer was very content just to sit out of the rain & wind today. I have a covered feeding area. Many times the birds will just hang out resting & try to stay dry!

ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD

20141129-IMG_1380I got my birthday wish today! The weather has been poor for so long I thought I’d never be able to get out! It would appear the powers that be, granted me a birthday wish & made the weather perfect!
I dressed warmly because of the cooler temperatures. Remember that I have no wind shield,so being warm is the critical ingredient!
I know that all the bears have gone to bed so no point in looking for any of my furry friends.
I did find that the Trumpeter Swans had arrived however! The K-19 gang were in their normal bay close to Tsapee Narrows. Too a few shots & continued on my way.
I went down to Rankin Rocks to see if any birds/seals were hanging around? Turns out nobody was home on the rocks. They like this spot because no ground predators can get at them. I did find a few Harbour Seals hauled out near by however.
I than headed from Tranquil Inlet to Cannery Bay. I thought I’d see if any Sea Lions had arrived yet? They come & stay in Cannery Bay for the winter.The Lions are usually around by now……….. but it would appear not. That means their food source can’t be either. If it stays that way they may not show up at all?
Headed back to town. Stopped off at Tsapee Narrows. The Daredevil came over to wish me well,but couldn’t see Delilah anywhere?
The suns angle is so far south now! Only three more weeks & it’ll start to swing back further north!
Said goodbye to the Daredevil & went to visit Maggie on Morpheus island. Right on cue,she flew out to greet me! She’s always a sweetheart!
Took some shots of my girlfriend but noticed the sun was minutes way from setting! Said goodnight to Maggie & headed over to Deadman island to visit with Romeo/Juliette. Romeo did come over to wish me a Happy Birthday!
He posed for me on his rocky throne & than went back over to the island. When he does this I know he’s not coming back & I have to follow him over to the island.
Juliette came over as well to wish me well! Took a few more sunset shots & that was it for my birthday sun!

Being able to get out on my birthday was the best gift I could of gotten today!

ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD

20140422-IMG_1332-2This is a male Anna’s Hummingbird. The vast majority of hummers coming my way are Rufous. There are several Anna’s male Hummingbirds & one female still hanging around. They have been with me since January. They will be leaving soon for the far north. The Anna’s are much larger than the Rufous! Their wings are very different as well.

SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIENDS!

20140409-IMG_005220140409-IMG_005820140409-IMG_0062Well,thereeeeeeeeee back!
In force too I might add! I’ve been watching them the last few nights? I open my sliding door & just lean up against it. The feeder is only 2 feet away at eye level from that point. As long as I don’t move,they buzz,hum & chirp their way along merrily! They always come in droves (actually the collective noun for Hummingbirds is a “Charm”) around sunset. Sort of like having a last drink before going to bed. Because there are only 6 feeding stations & anywhere between twenty/thirty Hummers trying to get a night cap,a line up begins to form! I’ve noticed they sit side by side & take turns going in for a drink. They kind of look like a little pumping machine going up & down! If that weren’t enough,a third one will come along & fly above them both trying to get in as well!
So I decided to think of a better solution for my little friends. I went to the local nursery,(OCN) & found that I could buy more of those little plastic flowers! I came home,took the feeder down & drilled 6 more holes.I put the flowers in & refilled. I could hear them chirping away outside! When they chirp,they are upset! It’s their way of complaining. So I hurried back & rehung it. They were in such a hurry that two of them landed instantly while I was still holding onto the feeder! I froze & watched them! They are getting to know me! I’m always flattered when a animal allows me to get close. It means that they have accepted me into their flight zone. They only do that after becoming familiar with you!
So I hung it & immediately noticed that the new flowers were leaking! It appears the new holes I drilled were a hair too big! I brought the feeder back & had a look at it again. By this time the chirping was getting louder & louder outside!
I had to make the hole a hair smaller? Than I came up with one of those brilliant ideas! I put a small piece of Masking tape over the holes. I than pushed the flowerette through the tape. It worked perfectly! The tape was acting like a thin gasket!
So now I probably have the only 12 station feeder in the world?
It appears that they are drinking about 1/2 litre per day. They are mostly Rufous Hummers with a few of the larger Anna’s still around.

I always take great delight in being fascinated by the largest birds (Eagles) & the smallest!

SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!

20140109-IMG_2605I now have 4 Hummingbirds coming to my feeder! While the majority of North America is in a deep freeze,I have 4 new feathered friends visiting me!
I shot this one today. It’s a female Anna’s Hummingbird. They like my feeder because it’s got cover from the rain & wind! She was just sitting there contently watching it pouring!

ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD

20130315-IMG_716720130315-IMG_7166This little guy showed up a week ago! It’s a male Anna’s Hummingbird all the way up from California! Well that general area down south at least. They basically are along the west coast.
It appears that they have been spreading further north now for many years! They are the only Hummingbird tough enough to be able to withstand the northern cold. They have been even spotted in Alaska,as well as Newfoundland! They can lower their metabolic rate & enter into a “Torpor” state. This helps them survive during cold periods or when they are low on body fat.
It is estimated that there are 1.5 million of these very territorial birds.

Annie

I finally got a shot of her! I found she doesn’t like to pose for me. A bit skittish.
Annie has been coming to my feeder for about a month now.She has the entire feeder to her self! Annie is a Anna’s Hummingbird and is from California.
I found it strange that a bird would head north to cold Canada during the winter from a warm California? I asked a good friend of mine, who is a leading bird expert (Adrian Dorst) why something so odd like this could happen?
He told me that the birds have been migrating north because of humans planting flowering plants! The more flowers (winter flowering) we plant,the more we encourage them to travel north.
I’d like to throw my 2 cents in. When Hummingbirds go north,I think they realize there is little if no competition for nectar sources!
That means they can relax more.
Still weird if you ask me!

As far as Annie goes,all I know is that she likes my feeder and I’m going to make sure she has some good rich nectar to slurp up!

That Frontal system approached Tofino this afternoon and passed over us at sunset. I anticipated this and headed out to the beach for sunset.
It actually arrived a hour too late. The sun set before we could get any good light. The sky did “go” but not to any great degree.
Tomorrow should be sunny and I plan on going to see my furry friends (the Lions) down the Inlet! I can’t wait to see what they’ve been up to?