Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hummers Abound

As a young girl, I was always fascinated by hummers, better known as hummingbirds. And for good reason. Of all our feathered friends, hummers are the only birds that can fly right, left, up, down, backwards and even upside down. Reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, these seemingly weightless creatures move with gentle grace and precision. Appropriately nicknamed "joyas voladoras" (flying jewels) by Spanish explorers, hummingbirds flaunt dazzling iridescent feathers found in all vibrant shades. However, the hummer's real name was inspired by the soft humming sound created by their wings beating at an astonishing rate of 60-80 times per second.

Hummingbirds at Dripping Springs Natural Area

Although I don't recall finding many "flying jewels" in Florida, luckily for me, Lake Junaluska was always teeming with them during my summer visits to The Family Circle Cabin. While at Family Circle, I'd patiently wait in my rocking chair or porch swing, just wishing for a hummer to grace my presence and sample the sweet, succulent syrup of my ruby red feeder. And after the first bird discovered the tasty treat, it wasn't long before several more would begin stopping by, hankering for a drizzle or drop of the sugary bliss.

Even now as a twentysomething, I still find intrigue in the pretty, petite pollinators. So you can imagine my surprise and excitement upon spotting a hummer zip through the sky of my very own Cruces neighborhood. Who would have ever guessed that New Mexico was home to the heavenly hummer? Not me! Roadrunners, doves, quails and hawks were the only desert fowl of which I knew. Anyway, less than a week after my first hummer spotting, Kyle and I experienced the incredible phenomenon of over 10 hummers swarming less than two feet from our faces. That's when I realized that hummingbirds not only reside in Cruces... they thrive in Cruces! We stared in awe at the culmination of hummingbirds and watched as one after another swooped in for a landing, aggressively vying for a chance to perch at the bar and throw back a few... sips of nectar that is. We captured lots of close-up pictures and even shot a video, which you can check out at the bottom of this post.

Our new feeder

Thrilled by the flock of hummers, we purchased our own hummingbird feeder  and set it up in the backyard. We seem to have already attracted at least one very satisfied customer  who can really hold his nectar. He frequents our feeder multiple times each day, and now we're just waiting for him to bring his thirsty buddies along for a round on the house.

Our first loyal patron

Hummer Video