Category Archives: ruby throated hummingbird

New Year and old pictures

Forget the frigid temperatures, the ice rain or the snowfall… it must be something – somewhere to warm up our spirit. I am ready for a new gardening season, until then…. lots of pictures to watch and smile.

Happy New Year! may the Spring come soon!

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Cuphea for hummingbirds

There is no secret the tubular flowers are mostly liked by hummingbirds. The shape of the flower is just perfect for the long bill and the nectar can be reached easily. Also, so many flowers count on hummingbirds for pollination.  Cuphea’s flowers are so beautiful and so much liked by hummingbirds.

pagecupheaI have three Cupheas in my hummingbird garden. I like all of them and I sit nearby with my camera ready to catch the magical hummingbird dance hovering around the flowers.

This one is Mexican Cigar or Cuphea ignea and probably the hybrid named David Verity (c.ignea x c.micropetala). The small tubular flowers in red-orange color are tipped with a thin withe-silver rim and two very tiny purple petals that suggest a lit cigar.

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It is an annual flower for my zone 5, and winter hardy for zones 10-12. Awesome flower, easy to grow from seeds, plant in full sun, moderate water. It will tolerate some drought but it will do the best with regular watering.

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I was so happy to found them at the nursery and I’ve got three nicely grown plants almost ready to bloom. However, I have started a few from seeds and I planted them in a flower bed out in the garden. I may say that the ones in pots didn’t grow so tall and bushy like the ones in the ground.

To make the plant bushier pinch the stems as needed to maintain a good shape. They can grow as tall as 30″ or more in warmer areas.

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This is one hummingbird enjoying the Mexican Cigar and for sure it’s a good hummingbird flower, from how much visited it was.

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Cuphea Ilavea, another magnet for hummers, in two shapes: one looks like Batface and the other one with smaller petals I would call Mouseface, because I didn’t get the name tag when I purchased it. Anyhow, doesn’t matter, for the beauty and joy it gives away, for me and the hummingbirds.

The flowers are obviously different, the same tubular shape but the petals are bigger and bright red with a purple center . They need the same sunny area and water with moderation.  Hummingbirds are so happy around them and some of them were guarding the area very carefully.

DSCN1562Can you see the one hummingbird there?

DSCN7041Cuphea can become a little bit leggy so pinch the stems to keep them in good shape.

DSCN3333I planted the in a sunny place together with a few annual Salvias and they made a great playground for the hummingbirds.

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The other Cuphea Ilavea might be a Batface hybrid and from the look of the flower it really look line one batface 🙂 The petals are visible larger than the other one. I noticed they they self-seed and the seeds were very well alive after the cold winters in Ontario. I have plants from the seeds I saved in fall. I have this plant in my garden for two summers already.

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This bumble bee is too big for such a small flower… is this a hug???

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Plant Cuphea where ever you want a nice and bright color all summer.  Plant a mass of plants near a window or the patio where you can enjoy the hordes of butterflies and hummingbirds sipping the reach nectar. of these beautiful flowers.

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How pretty am I???

Watching the hummingbirds is always amazing.  I spend lots of time waiting for the big -wonderful shot, and I always have my camera ready. But these little birds are so very fast, and my camera clicks a second late almost every time.  I didn’t get “THE” picture, but some of them are really funny.  Browsing through the summer’s photos brings me back to the sunny days.

They come back at the feeder almost every 15 minutes; some of them fly back very quickly, others are taking time for resting and guarding.  Perching at the feeder is not very often,  but they will fly somewhere close and watch the feeders from any intruders.

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A good and healthy meal: catching small flying insects will provide the protein needed. Look at that tongue! good for sipping the nectar and fly-catching as well.

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Preening, scratching and stretching…

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A nap after a good meal? I don’t know if they really nap, but those eyes are closed for sure 🙂

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My last thought: aren’t they so pretty??? The delicate body shape, those dark eyes with a small white spot in the corner of the eye.  And the shiny emerald like green… totally addictive.

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I’m watching you!

One of  September’s hummingbird, another fighter who took over the garden. I have seen lots of fights and chasing this summer and sometimes I clapped my hands trying to stop the fights. None of the birds have been badly hurt, however in two occasions the other bird was knocked down to the ground.

I called her “Big Mama” because she looks very strong and had enough fat to start her long trip. I haven’t seen her lately, she probably left by the end of September.

There were 3 hummingbirds in my garden; the one tiny  female and one young male, sneaking behind the Big Mama Ruby to get to the flowers and feeders. They did it most of the time, when Big Mama wasn’t fast enough to get them.

Here she is, perching on the tallest of the Datura – Angel Trumpet stems, watching the grounds and the feeders. I know Datura is poisonous, and perching there hopefully didn’t make the bird sick.

She liked also to perch on a Weigela branch, very close to the feeder and the Black&Blue Salvias.

If you look carefully, you’ll see a distinct mark on her beak, it’s like a “bump” . No idea what is that, and it didn’t make any difficulties for feeding. I hope she is alright.

Well, she is gone, like many other hummingbirds.There is only one now, a cute female who does not use the feeders. Still watching them with the sorrow that soon my garden will be so empty.

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Still here

I’ve learned that August is the best hummingbird activity in my garden. With some luck,  it starts end of July and they will be gone by  first week of October.

These are the three hummingbirds “living” in my garden. I can see them all times and I spent every spare minute watching them.  As always… so wonderful.

colibri set 2One of them is guarding the teritory from the tip of a canna bud, another one is taking care of the arbour area… not sure yet where is the third one 🙂

I can recognize them somehow.  Two females and one young male with only a few red feather on his gorget yet.

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Still here… they made my summer!

First Ruby

First sighting of a beautiful male Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Sunday, 6:10 PM,for only 15 sec.  Didn’t see him coming back. Very cold today and the next days, 4C  (35F)  no flowers, but there are 4 feeders up. I hope the little Ruby will be safe after these cold nights. Happy hummingbird watching!

Salvia Black&Blue

The third year of gardening revealed me the truth: I am gardening for hummingbirds. Whatever flowers I like, it “happens” to be a hummingbird flower. I have very few flowers just for my pleasure,  and I keep adding more and more hummingbird flowers. The thing is that I’ve learned about flowers I would never thought they can be so beautiful. Who cares about “salvia”? I only knew about the culinary salvia or the medicinal salvia. I was wondering what is so remarcable about this flower? Oh, well… I wish I can fill my whole garden with all the flowering salvias. The hummingbirds taught me about flowers, they showed me more beatiful species and it is a delight just watching both, the flowers and the birds.

About Savia Black&Blue I have learned  from my daily reading of the Hummingbird forum ( http://www.network54.com).  It took me  two seasons  to find this  Slavia.  I  found it at Belgium Nursery in Kitchener.  And it worth it: a realy stunning flower! Leaves, stems and flowers make a very attractive plant.

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This is Salvia guaranitica Black&Blue, also known as Blue Anise Sage. Isn’t she beautiful? The name comes from the deep blue flowers and the dark purple (almost black) calyces.

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In our Ontario zone is an annual plant and must be dug up in fall. It is a perennial semi-woody subshrub for USDA zones 8- 11. It grows up to 3 ft (0.9m) tall and almost as much wide, branches of dark green stems. The leaves are long on oposites sides of the stems, slightly toothed. If crushed, the leaves have a pleasant fragrance.

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Blue anise is a bloomer, it will give you the best show throughout the summer. They like sun, and moderate water, being a drought resistant plant. And the hummingbirds… they love it! I  have lots of flowers in my garden but this one was the most visited and the most wanted flower. This is  Alba ( white) a hummingbirds with a white spot on its crown. I’ve had such a great time watching her ( I believe it’s a her) for a few weeks.

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This  is a young male, you can see the one red spot on his gorget.  I planted one Salvia in a planter and the other three in a flower bed. My little friend took over this  planter and here he is getting some nectar from one flower.

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The flowers are tubular, with a hood like upper lips and a shorter downward pointing lower lip. Look at the size of this flower: it is bigger than the hummingbird’s head… or maybe is he too small?

DSCN3391Here are a few  more captures during the 2012 summer:

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In fall I dug up the plants after the foliage died. I found the roots look more as a tuber and I put them in a flower pot covered with soil, and I placed them in the garage.

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When I checked them sometime in December, I  was surprised to see that new sprouts showed up and I brought the plant inside, in the basement. Not too cold, not too warm ( 20 C) and I watered once in a while. Well, they had new leaves,  stems and new shoots. Even more, last month one stem got a few small blooms.  The one I left in the garage, and bring it in only late in March, it does not  look alive  anymore. Just dried stems. So, I’ve learned that they really need a medium temperature to stay alive over the winter, and must be watered just a bit, from time to time.

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The winter is playing tricks with us and the spring is hiding somewhere… can’t wait to go out and get ready for a new gardening season. And most of all the hummingbirds arrival.  I also have new plans for the next Salvia Black&Blue flower bed, and for more Salvias.

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Happy New Year!

 

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Hummingbirds in May

May was a long rainy month, and spring had a late arrival. During the cold and wet days  I was hoping that my hummingbirds will find the nectar good enough to make them stay longer in my garden. Not too many flowers in bloom at that time, so I bought a hanging basket of Million Bells – Calibracoa flowers. The blooms in the garden have been so poor, only a few Daffodils, Hyacints, one Fritillaria,  and a few other bulbs.

The first one arrived on May 8th, a beautiful  male, who perched on the red nectar bottle. I have seen him almost every day, wonder if it was the same or another male.  To make sure it will be enough nectar for all ( possible) visitors, I put out 5 feeders in different locations,  because of their well known territorial behaviour.

A few times I watched their U shaped fight protecting their feeders and they amazed me again and again with their dance in the air, these beautiful flying jewels. By the middle of May I was sure about my  two resident males, coming at the feeders and some times I was lucky enough to watch them perching and not disturbed by  our presence.  The photos are not so good,  sometimes I just prefered to watch them instead of looking for the right and perfect photo capture. This is one of the boys, sipping the nectar and also very alert because of me being so close to him.

I knew this is  the beginning of the hummingbird watching season, a new amazing experience between flowers and my beautiful flying jewels.

It’s a boy!

The first hummingbird of the season finally arrived Saturday, May 8th, around noon time. The waiting was so long. By the end of April I wasn’t patient at all, looking on the window with the hope they are back.  That day,  I left the feeder on the table  just for a few minutes.  And here he is: waiting on top of the bottle, amazing beautifully.  The quality of the picture is not good, it was taken through the door screen, but this is one of the most important pictures of the season.This day was the beginning of joy, a summer of hummingbird watching and the appreciation of the beauty.