Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Attack of the Hummingbirds

Cardinal Flower
I couldn't stand it.  I just had to try.  Over the past several weeks I've seen several magnificent displays of Cardinal Flower.  I don't really have the ideal spot for them since they like to be in moist soil. But hey, what can I say,  I'm a gardener and I like to experiment.  So, off to the native nursery where I purchased three very small blooming specimens.  At least I won't be out much if they don't survive.  As I was about half way through putting the first plant in the ground, I heard a familiar buzzing over my left shoulder.  Slowly turning, I found a Ruby Throated Hummingbird hovering just inches away from me.  I'd swear he would have shoved me out of the way had I not had my awesome trowel in hand.  Not wanting to get in the way of his afternoon snack, I quickly finished and stood back.  That little guy dove into the bright red flowers and methodically worked his way through all the blooms.  He pressed so hard into those flowers I thought he was going to break the single stem of this little plant  Apparently, this natural nectar was much more appealing than the sugar water in a nearby feeder.  After a few minutes, he rose quickly, happily chattering away.  What a smile that brought to my face.   I'm already glad I bought these little plants.

Finishing up planting the remaining two Cardinal Flowers, I went back to work in my home office.  A little later, a movement caught my eye in the small native garden outside my office window.  Another hummingbird was eagerly working over the Blue Lobelia.  Knowing the hummingbird's attraction to red, I hadn't expected to see this tiny bird drinking up nectar from a blue flower.  Nice!

Blue Lobelia
Later that day,I had a chance to take a break outside.  No sooner had a I sat down on the side deck, than I heard the excited chattering of my favorite bird.  Another hummer was extracting nectar from the first Cardinal Flower.  After a few seconds, he zipped over to the second plant about 10 feet away.  Then, onto the last Cardinal Flower about 20 feet from there.  He spent quite a bit of time reaping a harvest from that plant.  In the meantime, a Chickadee flitted in to rest at the top of the pole holding a hummingbird feeder.  What a ruckus there was as that hummer came back and hovered a few inches in front this black and white bird.  Finally the Chickadee took off and the hummer settled down to take a few sips from the feeder before shooting off into a tree.   I sure hope these Cardinal Flowers thrive for next year's show.

No comments: