Friday, 30 September 2022

Cedar Tree Feast

It was the red squirrel that first started harvesting the seeds on the cedar tree outside my living room window. 

As the seeds ripened further, American Goldfinches started to take interest. Yesterday the air was filled with cast off hulls floating down, accompanied by the sweet little calls of the juvenile finches.

 

Just don't fall!!! That's the advice seniors are given. And since my tests show that my bone density has declined into the realm of osteoporosis, I'm extra careful. Especially when doing repairs to the roof! 

Yep, that's me up there fastening down a torn and bent back metal sheet on the roof. Must have been damaged by last winter's ice. I clipped a safety rope to a belt around my waist and moved with due caution. Another chore ticked off my list!

Keeping me company were dozens of wasps who had mud nests under the ribs of the roofing panels. Occasionally, one would fly over and chummily ask me "How's it going, eh?" I rather enjoyed their friendly interest. 

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Rubies

Well, here we are, into September already. Really don't have much to report but I wanted to supersede that broken window photo with something less dismal. By the way, the broken window is into it's third week of stay at the repair shop. Gave them a shout last week and the employee said it would likely be another week but he'd check and ring back. He hasn't! Seems the same story all over now. Long wait times for any home repair jobs. The new outside doors I ordered months ago won't be delivered and installed until next Spring. Seems bizarre.

Anyway thought I'd better snap off a few shots of my feisty little jewels before they migrate south. I'm talking about my Ruby-Throated hummingbirds. Of the three hundred species of hummingbirds, they are the only ones we see in Eastern Canada. These little beauties are super aggressive and defensive of their flowers and sugar water feeders. Competition is their default setting. No matter how much food is available, they bomb and dogfight each other almost constantly. Males compete with both genders while females compete only with females. Consequently, I have three feeders up -- all out of sight of each other.

The males have molted already. Because of that and because I hang my feeders in the shade, my photos don't show their brilliant ruby throats. Perhaps next spring I'll get a good shot of the guys' dazzling ruby gorgets. 

A few Ruby factoids: 

Females have white chest and facial feathering. She appears more elongated than the male and up to twenty percent larger. She has white tips on each side of outer tail feathers.

Adult females and male juveniles can be hard to distinguish as both have rounded tail feathers with white tips. The male is smaller and darker. His chest is gray rather than white and has a ruby throat patch that varies in colour with the angle of light. He has pointed tail feathers arranged in a forked pattern. He lacks the white tips on his tail feathers.

Life span from five to nine years with females living longer. 

Juveniles resemble females until their first winter when males develop a gorget. Male juveniles often have dark striping on their chin and may even have a dark throat feather or two.

A group of hummingbirds is often referred to as a charm.

They fly only during the day.

Rubies squeak, twitter and make greeting noises but don't sing.

They take in several times their weight in calories each day.

They get 2/3 of their diet from nectar and 1/3 from tiny insects. They can fly at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. More when travelling with the wind.

They cross the gulf coast to Mexico and Central America as far south as Costa Rica to winter.

Feet not made for walking but for perching and grooming.

 

Update: Just got a phone call saying my window is ready for pick up. Yay-y-y-y!!!