Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Hummingbird Courtship Flight!

I am not a very dedicated house painter, window washer, floor cleaning, stuff sorter. Sigh...........I would MUCH rather be at our farm, outside even in the rain.

However, I got really lucky today and while I was getting ready at the farm to head back into town to do all of the above (arghhhh), I glanced out of my window at the bird feeders and saw three wonderful things!

1) After 50 years of watching birds, I saw my first ever male hummingbird courtship flight display, right before my eyes, right outside our farm window, less than 3 feet away. It was like watching a great tennis match on TV instead of sitting high up and far away in the 'nosebleed i.e. cheap seats' at Wimbledon wondering what was really going on. (I have not done this, but I would love to go to Wimbledon some day even though I know that is where I would be sitting!) 

I could see everything happening. First things first. I noticed the first female hummingbird I've seen this year sitting in a nearby tree. She came down to the hummingbird feeder and hovered and hovered and hovered while feeding (the male always just sits right down!). When she finally sat down on the feeder, ZOOM! another hummingbird comes out of nowhere and flies right behind her and I swear touched her tail. She jumped a fraction of an inch and then sat down again on the feeder and then ZOOM! from the other direction came the other hummingbird again, again I swear touching her tail as it flew by. Again, the female jumped a fraction of an inch, and then in a fraction of a second, this other hummingbird came from somewhere, had completely changed direction and was now flying right at her (and me!). However, before he hit the window and my open mouth, he zoomed in the air about 10-15 feet, then turned right around and zoomed down, flew under her and then zoomed up into the air about 15 feet right in front of her, turned in the air and flew down and under her and then up again, back and forth like this several times (called a pendulum flight) and then the two of them zoomed!! off together. I have NO idea which one was leading this chase as they flew off together as it all was happening too fast!

Wow - way cool! was I in the right place at the right time, finally!, seriously it took 50 years of birding to see this incredible behavior! I sure am glad that male hummingbird did not come smashing into the window at me and apparently actually had a better plan and knew what it was doing!

2) After listening to the male rose-breasted grosbeak singing this week, the female showed up yesterday at the feeder for the first time (alone), and today they were feeding together. Ah, looks like they found each other and hopefully will nest in the woods on our farm! A grosbeak is named a grosbeak for a reason. Their beaks are HUGE and have no trouble at all cracking open sunflower seed shells!

3) While getting dressed, I glanced out of our bedroom windows at the platform feeder in our backyard (where I am trying to entice the orioles with grape jelly and oranges) and got excited but not because of an oriole appearance! Instead, after weeks and weeks of absence, our bluebirds just showed up again, with both a male and a female taking turns just sitting in and under the cover of the platform feeder. As I came and went today, in and out of the bedroom and back and forth between out farm and our city house, I often saw one or the other just sitting there. Other birds came and went and were eating some of the eclectic mix on that feeder (suet, sunflower seeds, peanuts) while the bluebirds just sat on the edge enjoying a view of something out of the rain. Welcome back!

Love is certainly in the air! And only 4 weeks to go until our older son and the love of his life get married. Today is a cold, windy, and rainy day, but with all these signs of spring, we don't have to hope the weather will improve, we know it will and it will be better soon, even tomorrow!!

Now believe it not, it's 8 pm but I'm heading back to the city house to get just one more thing done tonight. Then tomorrow I will be doing something wonderful and something new - my first dietetic intern starts tomorrow, spending 2 weeks on our farm as an official rotation during her dietetic internship at Western Michigan University. I have lots planned for her!

Now off the computer and back to work. In case you have not figured this out, blogging and birding are my breaks, my ways of keeping balance in my life! :-)

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Uncharted Journey said...

diana, as a cancer-endurer (stage 4) and a devoted gardener and neophyte bird buddy, I will say your blog is just a beautiful ray of sunshine in my life. WE can't put out bird feeders once spring arrives because there are bears in the Catskills who love to come into town when the weather warms up. But we have a bird bath and birdboxes -- so we have plenty of delights. Thank you, Diana, for your ray of sunshine.
I send you blessings, Elizabeth

Diana Dyer said...

My friends in Alaska also take down their bird feeders when the bears start walking through their backyards after hibernation season ends! We do have curious 'night visitors' to the feeders and bird baths but at least we have no bears.

I love birding buddies like you, wherever you live! When I was speaking all over the country, I used to ask my hosts to find a 'birding buddy' in the area to show me local birding hot spots and special birds. I had so much fun doing that.

I should have added that besides balance, birds bring beauty into my life and I hope I can share a bit of that beauty on my blog.

Please stop back at my blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful comments. In addition to the orioles finally showing up at our farm today, you made my day. :-)