Sunday, December 03, 2006

Calliope Hummingbird

People in the northeast who keep hummingbird feeders out in summer are usually tempted to take them down by the end of September, when ruby-throated hummingbirds – the only species of hummer that nests here – have moved south. The standard advice, though, is to keep the feeders up for another couple of months, at least, because late fall can bring wandering species to the region, rufous hummingbirds in particular.

Dori Sosensky, one of Connecticut’s most dedicated birders, maintains a feeding station, complete with hummingbird feeders, at LighthousePoint Park, in New Haven, and she and others were rewarded yesterday with an extraordinary visit from a calliope hummingbird (an adult female), which lives and nests in the southwest and west. The Connecticut Ornithological Association’s daily email remarks:

The bird was visiting the feeders in the butterfly garden all day, from when it was sighted around 10:00 AM every 15 to 30 minutes until 4:20 PM. It is worth noting the effort that Dori Sosensky in particular has put into creating and maintaining this garden and keeping the feeders available so this could happen.

[Monday update: I gleaned the following clarification from Monday's Connecticut birder email: I was told quite pointedly by Dori that, while she has been keeping the hummingbird feeders in operation, the butterfly garden is the work of a great many people, and her contribution is far more limited than what I indicated in yesterday's report. In particular I send my apologies to Christine Cook the designer, Dan Barvir the New Haven Park Ranger, and Carol Lemmon past president of the Connecticut Butterfly Association, as well as what I was told were many more contributors. Mea maxima culpa, and thank you all.]

You can see the tiny bird (the smallest North American bird, in fact), here, thanks to a couple of terrific photos by Julian Hough, a birder and photographer. It is the first time a calliope hummingbird has been seen in Connecticut.


Blogger Sam said...

Wow that's incredible! Great pictures, too. You don't know how hard it is to shoot a hummer with a camera, as they move so fast and are so small. I have lots of pictures of empty sky ...

As to butterfly gardens, they will attract hummers as well, and with land going at such a fast rate it is important to help the little guys out. My hat is off to those that take the time to do so. /Sam

12:02 PM  

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