|Juvenile male (from the faint black throat streaking)|
Ruby-throated Hummingbird at our hanging basket
Regina, Saskatchewan. © SB
I used to see hummingbirds, with wonder, at an aunt's farm and small-town backyard, when I was a child.
But I have never been lucky enough to see Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in my own Regina backyard...
Until last week, when a Ruby-throated Hummingbird — a juvenile male, I think — started visiting to feed from our hanging basket of small red petunia flowers.
This lovely hummingbird, with faint dark streaking on its throat, has visited at varying times of day ever since.
|Young Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeding from petunias, Regina, SK. © SB|
|Ruby-throated Hummingbird, more clearly showing feathers |
and the beginnings of throat markings. Regina, Saskatchewan. © SB
Perhaps because I lived in the Caribbean as a child, I consider Ruby-throated Hummingbirds — and all hummingbirds — to be tropical birds. So my delight at seeing them here, in the high Canadian prairies, is mixed with awe. They seem out of place, and yet Saskatchewan is where they belong, one of the places where each summer, they breed.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds also breed in Quebec, where I saw several a few weeks ago.
|Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird,|
in the Laurentians, Quebec. © SB
The map of the Ruby-throated hummingbird's migration is interesting, because it swings up the Eastern U.S. into Quebec and Ontario, and then flows west across Canada to the Rocky Mountains. If we lived in the neighbouring states to the south of Saskatchewan, we'd be lucky to see, if any, stray hummingbirds blown of course during migration. Or more likely — in my case, at least — none at all.
|Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird preparing to feed |
at the Sapsucker tree, his throat bright in the sun.
(The drilled holes are a source of sweet sap and insects.) Quebec © SB
Earlier this summer, we spent some time at an old cabin on a lake in the Laurentians in Quebec. Ruby-throated Hummingbird would hover beside our cabin feeder, feed from the local Yellow-bellied Sapsucker tree, flirt in the woods, and pose on bare branches beside the dock.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds playing at the mating dance.
(The male is at right, middle and lower, and out of sight, top.
His iridescent red throat feathers look brown in shadow
and only light up in the sun). Quebec. © SB
What are these? Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
Location: With flowers, in Backyard, Regina, Saskatchewan; posing, feeding and dancing in the trees, near a cabin in the Laurentians, Quebec.
Photo dates: Regina: August 20, 2015; Quebec: July 26 and 30, and August 1, 2015.