Tag Archive | rufous hummingbird

Hummingbirds: Rufous

“Both male and female S. rufus are territorial; however, they defend different types of territories.[9] The more aggressive males fight to defend areas with dense flowers, pushing females into areas with more sparsely populated flowers.[9] Males generally have shorter wings than females, therefore their metabolic cost for hovering is higher. This allows males to beat their wings at high frequencies, giving them the ability to chase and attack other birds to defend their territory.[9] The metabolic cost of short wings is compensated for by the fact that these males do not need to waste energy foraging for food, because their defended territory provides plenty of sustenance.[10] Females on the other hand are not given access to the high concentration food sources, because the males fight them off.[9] Therefore, females generally defend larger territories, where flowers are more sparsely populated, forcing them to fly farther between food sources.[9] The metabolic cost of flying farther is compensated for with longer wings providing more efficient flight for females.[9] The differences in wing length for S. rufus demonstrate a distinct sexual dimorphism, allowing each sex to best exploit resources in an area.”

I copied this straight from Wikipedia. Fascinating. Fair? For some reason, I trust their information for basic science, though I might be skeptical for more subjective knowledge. Around here, we call these birds “little bulldogs,” or more subjective epithets. I love them despite their aggression; they are beautiful, remarkable creatures. I am grateful to have the Rufous and the other two species zipping around the yarden all day, intensifying in the evening.

I’m grateful to have stumbled, after 29 years, into a spot in the woods where I have never stood before, a view I have never viewed.
I am happy to share my flowers, and grateful for the trust of the mangy doe. I wonder if she’s still pregnant, or if she’s already got a fawn. Her belly looks bigger than it did a couple of days ago. Her teats are enlarged; but not like the mother of twins, who hasn’t come into the yard for more than a week, though I did see her and the fawns just south of the fence the other day, which was reassuring.
I am grateful for green! So much lush growth. I love these rattlesnake pole beans.
I picked this load this morning, and this evening there are more ripe and ready beans. I picked even more a couple of days ago…
…so this afternoon I blanched the two batches…
…and bagged them for the deep freeze. I’m grateful for the knowledge and technology to do this.
I’m grateful that the Chimayo peppers are fruiting between monster tomato plants in the new beds.
I’m grateful for all the flavors of green growing in the garden right now, and for living through to another gorgeous sunset; and for a house to live in, and water to make rain on the garden and grow food in abundance.

Among the Cleome


Cleome serrulata, Rocky Mountain Beeplant, wild relative of gardeners’ Spider Flower, is a magnet for native pollinator species as well as honeybees.

Someday, I will find the photo I took of acres of beeplant along the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument when I was a ranger there decades ago. Acres of it! Right next to the river, in a disturbed field. That was my introduction to this native medicinal, dye, and food plant. When I lived in a trailer here 26 years ago, I scattered a native seed mix, including Gallardia, Ratibida, Linum, and Cleome. Of those four, only the beeplant has appeared erratically. Some years there are many, some, like this year, few. Maybe it doesn’t like drought. This particular patch, essentially two large stalks, I let grow in the raised bed between the Mystery Tomato and the Bolting Leeks.

Certain times of day, much of the day, these flowers buzz with the camaraderie of multiple insect species feasting at the same table. What is wrong with us? IMG_6541-109-110IMG_6222IMG_6330-101-102


I don’t know everything. But it looks like this tiny native bee is shaking or rubbing pollen from a Cleome stamen. Another series of photos shows a big yellow bumblebee stroking the underside of two stamens with her antenna, but for some reason they won’t export. Oh well.



This juvenile Rufous hummingbird sips the flower, which simultaneously produces fruit and seeds as blossoms continue to bloom and ripen up the stalk.



Two distinct colors of honeybees inhabit my yard, a range of light bees, and one dark strain.


I also don’t know the name of this bee, or even if it is a wasp. It’s over an inch long, and I only see it on the Cleome. It usually curls in on itself on these flowers.


Bye from the Beeplant


Young hummingbirds, this year’s fast-fledged hatchlings, seem to experiment more with the flowers than adults who’ve become accustomed to the quick-fix of the single feeder that hangs below the deck. They’re trying out the patio pots with red and blue annual Salvia, and the hanging baskets.



mean… fuzzy wuzzy!


Next time, the Bountiful Peach Tree.

Amidst loss and chaos throughout the summer, in my personal life as well as in community and country, and around the planet, this peach tree has brought peace and joy. Nurturing and watching from the last snow, through leaf and bloom, drop and grow, these last weeks of ripening, I’ve savored this tree in far and away its most abundant year. It keeps reminding me what’s real. One fruit of the romantic debacle/deception is that it’s driven me deeper into the larger love of my closest friends, my community, and my garden sanctuary. Let me remember to be grateful for love and lessons, every living moment of every day.



Runaway Summer


At last the rains came. Last week, almost half an inch over the course of five days, this week half an inch in one 36-hour period, and a few days later, two-tenths in an hour, most of which fell in an eight-minute hail storm that left squash leaves in tatters. But the fear of fire is diminished, and the need to run water on the garden as well.

In the throes of summer’s runaway roller coaster I have been neglecting morning rounds; company, a several day water crisis, a family catastrophe, and the sheer demands of the garden have all conspired to distract me from sharing the wild beauty of Mirador’s blooming yard. For today, a brief synopsis, and hopes that I will do better from now on.

The potted agave that shot up its stalk last summer has finally bloomed, and this too took much of my attention for the past month. How sedately it opened, one cluster at a time. I expected some special moth, or fly, some nighttime pollinator to visit, and was surprised at who came to dominate. Hummingbirds! All three species here have been striving to feed from its dripping nectar but of course the little bulldog rufous birds have held sway.

In the early days of the flowers' opening the rufous hummingbirds began to guard the stalk, fighting amongst themselves and chasing off the black-chinneds and the broadtails.

In the early days of the flowers’ opening the rufous hummingbirds began to guard the stalk, fighting amongst themselves and chasing off the black-chinneds and the broadtails.

As the inflorescences opened more they continued to maintain control.

As the inflorescences opened more they continued to maintain control.

Echinacea opened and bumblebees came.

Echinacea opened and bumblebees came.

Leeks flowered and all manner of bees came.

Leeks flowered and all manner of bees came.

Mullein shot up its neverending flower stalk and honeybees came.

Mullein shot up its neverending flower stalk and honeybees came.

And the hundreds of images I’ve captured in the past month I’ve barely begun to sort; my dear neighbors provided me with an insect field guide that I haven’t had time to study; work deadlines loom large. My dearest auntie lies recovering from a broken hip; I cried myself to sleep last night in fear for her recovery, and awoke this morning way too early to the morning star rising over the West Elk Mountains. But the day dawned crisp and clear, July’s parting gift, and I’m optimistic about everything… for now. The fernbush has opened its candelabra blossoms and welcomes a host of buzzing insects, some too fast and tiny to capture. There is always some lovely distraction outside when I am sad.

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