This morning while cleaning the basement, I sat for a while in front of the big window that faces out to the back yard. Blue, the big Blue Spruce is right outside the window. I saw some hummingbirds going in and out of the branches and they seemed to be getting something off the branches to eat. I was without my binoculars, so I didn't get a good look at what they were doing. This continued as long as I sat there. They went over the whole tree this way. They have really kept me hopping this year. I have had to fill the 3 feeders a couple of times a week. I talked to my daughter this weekend, while I sat on the front porch. "Why are they so mean to each other?" she said. She was referring to their habit of chasing each other away from the feeder. I have thought it to be a game, but now I realize that these tiny little birds are very territorial. They would rather miss a feeding than to let someone else feed in their area. Yesterday there were 6-8 hummingbirds flying and zooming in and out of the pillars of the porch. They zoomed right past my face a few times. Their little chatter is so cute. I love the sound of the whir of their wings, when they fly. So glad I put a feeder there...it's been so much fun to watch these little rascals as we sit there.
I've heard that we should take the feeders down about now, so that the birds will migrate. That's not true. As the time of migration approaches, the hummingbird starts to pack on fat, which will fuel its journey. And then it gets an overwhelming urge to migrate. The biological rhythms run automatically, but they are synchronized and fine tuned by the changing day length. We should leave the feeders out even after we don't see them any more...to provide food for stragglers or birds that have hatched late. We in No, Illinois can enjoy these birds for about 5 months each year. They provide so much entertainment for us. They are like little jewels in the garden. This year we were treated with many, many more hummingbirds. We even watched as young hummers sat at the feeder. They had shorter tails and sort of wobbled as they sat there drinking. It's about time for them to leave, so I'm ready to say goodbye to this sweet little bird. I wish them safe travels...and hope that they come back to our yard again next year.