I can’t believe I finally got a photo of a hummingbird’s forked tongue! I have never captured the fork at the end of the tongue because it typically springs open once a hummer inserts her tongue in a flower. But here it is, for us to see!

We have somewhere around 70 or more hummers at The Holler now, so we are getting lots of very bright color. Hummers flash their colors at will, sometimes as warnings when sparring. This guy was caught at dusk, flashing away to keep intruders at bay.

Once a year, at peak swarm, I feed the hummers by hand. I only do it once, for about an hour because I don’t want the hummers to become tame, thinking all humans can be trusted, because unfortunately, as we all know, some humans should not be trusted.
By the way, the white dust you see on this hummer’s beak is pollen.

I saw this photo that went viral awhile ago, where a woman was photographed, with a hummingbird drinking nectar out of her mouth. People loved it, but it bothered me. Did the photographer consider how tiny and wild hummingbirds are? Did he consider how easily this woman’s viral and bacterial load could kill hummingbirds? Did they think about how taming a wild hummingbird, for a photo, through nectar offering, and then withholding, might lead a migrating hummingbird to harm at the hands of humans?

Garden nectar feeder stations have brought seriously declining hummingbird populations back to healthy numbers. Handled responsibly, garden feeders are important for hummingbird population survival. But taming wild birds that migrate, to perform tricks, isn’t helping hummingbird survival.

Taking these photos is very difficult. I have a tripod, but don’t ever use it. Why have a stationary camera in a moving world? Wild animals don’t find this interesting. So, I hold the feeder with my left hand and take the photo with my right. After about 10 minutes this starts to hurt!

Thankfully my son volunteered to hold the feeder.

The Holler hummers do know us and have learned to trust us, many of them were born here. As mentioned a few stay year round and others return annually. Wherever they stay when they migrate south for the winter, they survive and thrive. Maybe they hang out in a garden in Central America where a bird lover keeps their feeders going and the hummers happy!

Cheers to you from the incredible, wild, and much-loved, Holler Hummers~

380 thoughts on “Hummingbirds~

  1. Wonderful photographs! I’ve never seen hummingbirds humming (or is it hovering. . .). Mostly they are zipping here and there, back and forth .They are definitely another of nature’s lovely mysteries!


  2. I had two feeders and a beautiful swarm for about two days until one Ruby Throated Hummer ran them all away. I read that adding more feeders or moving one of the feeders would help but I apparently didn’t move them far enough away because he was able to terrorize both of them. So I took them down in hopes that he will move to greener pastures. I know they spar and I understand. As long as they are sparing equally I don’t have a problem. But when one can run everyone away, I just do not think that is fair. I wish I could speak hummingbird for just long enough to tell them there is plenty for everyone, and I will bring more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, this happens sometimes, and it is very frustrating to watch, so I empathize with you completely. And the dominant bird will dominant another feeder, as you mention, if placed in visual contact of the existing feeder. However, he can’t keep this up forever because it becomes too exhausting, leaves too little time for him to eat or mate, and expends too much energy. A sufficient numbers of challengers will eventually overwhelm him, however you can stop the process more quickly by doing a few things. Move the existing feeder to a difficult to dominate place, like hanging it from a branch among the scrub of a very large bush. This is harder to dominate because it is more difficult to see. Have this feeder plain glass, no red dye or red glass. Next hang a second feeder on another area of your garden, out of the visual field of the dominant bird and far enough away that the bird cannot possibly dominate both feeders. Fill this temporarily with red dye nectar or a red glass container to attract the rejected birds. Eventually you should have two feeders going and his dominance of your garden will be over and he will give up. You have already removed the contested feeder for awhile which is actually the first thing you can do. He will hang around waiting for it to return for awhile and then give up. At this point hang the two feeders as described. It may help for you to know he dominates the location where the feeder is placed and all his strategy centers on this. So stopping this location dominance is your first tool. There is an interesting book you may want to read titled, “The Fastest Thing on Wings,” about hummingbirds written by a hummingbird rescuer. The author describes in good detail how a very small percentage of hummingbirds are just bullies and terrorize other birds. In this way they are similar, unfortunately, to humans.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Pingback: Hummingbirds~ | Donkey Whisperer Farm Blog

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