Spring has come very early this year, and with it so have a few of my favorite visitors – Hummingbirds and Butterflies!
My neighbors are very into birds. They have all sorts of feeders out, including Hummingbird feeders, but the big draw in their yard is the big orange Trumpet vine and the bight red Mandevalia vines growing between their house and mine. Its not uncommon for us to sit on their big front porch in the summer and watch the territorial wars going on between the hummers. But for now we have the feeders out.
One of my favorite websites to check each spring is the Spring Ruby-throated Hummingbird Migration Map (here) on hummingbirds.net. What makes this map so neat is that people report their first spring sighting of Ruby-throated hummingbirds, and when they are all put together on a map you can watch the spring migration unfold.
We have a great new book in the ICPL collection right now about Hummers too: Hummingbirds and Butterflies, by Bill Thompson III and Connie Toops.
Really two books in one, this well written and organized guide is half Hummer and half Butterfly, organized the same way in both halves. Starting with a 40 page introduction to all things Hummingbird, including anatomy, identification and behavior. Followed by a discussion of how, where and when to use feeders vs plantings to attract Hummers – including how to keep dominant birds too busy to run other birds off, and where and why rotting fruit is a great feeding choice. The first half of the book concludes with chapters on flowering plants and garden plans and species profiles for for the 15 most common Hummingbird species in North America -which include descriptions, field markers, sounds, behaviors, life-size color photos and habitat maps.
The second Butterfly half of the book is laid out in pretty much the same order, only with much longer sections on Gardening to attract Butterflies and Species Identification (with 40 species profiled).
Definitely a book I’m adding to my collection!