Ruby-throated hummingbird

Note: Pictures are mainly of female and immature male ruby-throated hummingbirds currently. Page will be updated periodically when new pictures are added.

Each spring, a hummingbird feeder is hung in the backyard to attract the migrating hummingbirds.

Hummingbird at the feeder

This is in addition to the flowering bushes, and flowers that if they’re blooming at the right time—will also attract them.

Hummingbird feeding at the Rose-of-Sharon flowers…

Thanks to the pandemic this year, the hummingbirds have been one of my choices for photographing and trying to improve my photography skills.

Hummingbird making a U-turn……..

As with most birds, the males and females look different. The males are the ones with the bright red necks (that can look purple or black depending on the lighting), while the females have a plain looking neck. Both have green feathers on the back.

Based on size, they can be confused with the black-chinned hummingbird (especially when they share territory)—so the best way to see which is which, are the marking showing the difference between the males (ruby-red versus black—though it will also depend on the light, as sometimes the ruby-throated hummingbird will look like a black-chinned hummingbird).

Probably an immature male ruby-throated hummingbird.

Neat little fact: they have extremely short legs, to where they can only really shuffle along a branch—they can’t walk or hop. The order in which they belong: Apodiformes actually means “without feet”—which is how they look most of the time (especially flying).

Ruby-throated hummingbird at the feeder. See the cute little feet……

Ruby-throated hummingbirds migrate between the US/Canada & Mexico/Central America. They spend the winter months in Mexico/Central America and then return north in the spring to breed during the summer, and then make the trip back south in the fall.

Ruby-throated hummingbird geographical map. (c) Birds of the world (Cornell birding)

Since they feed on nectar of tubular flowers, the best places to see them are in areas where there are tubular flowers blooming, or where there are hummingbird feeders hung.

Ruby-throated hummingbird perched in the elm tree, overlooking the hummingbird feeder.

They can be seen perched in bushes near a feeder, or even on the wires above keeping an eye on their feeding territory.

Hummingbird on the wire…….

Hummingbirds feed primarily on nectar from flowers and sugar water in feeders.

Hummingbird at the Rose-of-Sharon flowers.

If you’re going to hang hummingbird feeders—the sugar water should be made at least weekly (best is usually bi-weekly), and follows the following formula:

½ c sugar

2 c water

Bring to a boil. Allow cooling before pouring into a hummingbird feeder.

Colorful feeders are the best to attract hummingbirds to the yard (we have an orange/red one), though they need to be cleaned weekly as insects (mainly ants) also are attracted to the food and can contaminate the food.

Hummingbird at the Rose-of-Sharon flowers

Avoid buying commercial hummingbird foods—mainly because there are additives (such as the red dye) that are unnecessary for the hummingbird’s diet. Hummingbirds have also been seen to snatch small insects (namely mosquitos, gnats, fruits flies and small bees) out of the air and even pluck them from spider’s webs (future photography goals—hummingbird stealing from a spider and seeing them closer to their nest).