Fast Visitor

hummingbird_stillI thought I’d share with you a little video of one of my favourite visitors to the garden! These hummingbirds love Mexican sage (salvia leucantha). I grow quite a bit of it, and they flock to it when it starts blooming in the Fall. As I said over a year ago in talking about the sage and the birds, in a post “Soon They Will Come”:

They’ll come and examine each flower closely and attentively, and I’ll be waiting for them, since they are so magical – appearing suddenly and dramatically as though dropping out of warp, with a wonderful and powerful hum. I’m talking about hummingbirds, of course. They love these flowers, and come and feed on them regularly.

The warp reference? They are fast – incredibly fast, and they can accelerate and decelerate astonishingly effectively. So if you’re lucky and standing still at the right point, there’ll be a hum and suddenly one is hovering a meter from you as though it just materialized there, splendidly attired in its iridescent feathers.

I think it is often the same bird that comes…they are very territorial, and fiercely so. You can see one chasing others away from its turf, with aggressive motions and chattering noises. Listen to its distinctive call as it flies off, protesting at the car that disturbed it. (The other sounds are my radio playing NPR in the kitchen, and a roofer some houses away working with a nail gun.) Here’s the short video:

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5 Responses to Fast Visitor

  1. Jude says:

    When I lived at Great Sand Dunes in southern Colorado, my then-husband was an annoyingly fanatical environmentalist who rinsed out plastic bread bags (then orange-colored) and hung them out to dry for reuse. The hummingbirds patrolled our clothesline, hoping in vain that the orange bags signaled food. Thanks for the video.

  2. Belizean says:

    Thank’s for the video. It’s always a special moment when these guys pay a visit.

    LA seems to to me to be inhabited by an unusually large variety of bird species. [Other species that I recall seeing there: English sparrow, pigeon, California gull, crow, mourning dove, starling, mocking bird, cat bird, house finch, robin, chickadee, red-tailed hawk, peregrine falcon, red-winged black bird, meadowlark, sand piper, curlew, pelican, Bullock’s Oriole, owls, various black birds (especially around Exposition Park).]

    I wonder how the variety of species in LA compares with that of other cities. For all I know, the irrigated desert that is LA is actually near the bottom of the list.

  3. Clifford says:

    Yes, there is quite a lovely variety indeed. There’s a lot of habitat and variety of micro climates and vegetation types, so from one point of view it is not too surprising, while being no less of a pleasure for it. I don’t know how it compares to other cities in the region or beyond.



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