The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only hummingbird in most of the eastern United States. It thrives on flower nectar, insects, spiders, the sap in holes drilled by sapsuckers and the sugar water provided by many folks in their yards.
Its nest, supported by a small horizontal tree limb, is made up of plant down and the scales of flower buds. Those materials are covered with lichens and spider's silk. It can be built anywhere from 10 to 20 feet high. Two white eggs are laid within 16 days. The young, born naked, will stay in that nest for 30 days. During that time, they totally depend on the parents to feed them and keep them warm. The adults normally have one to two broods in each season.
Now, the further analysis of the behavior. The male, in the spring, defends a territory of about acre. He does that by flying in a U shape that takes him as high as 10 to 40 feet. Both the male and female will display in courtship by flying back and forth horizontally with their tails spread. It is also done to protect its food source, such as the feeders that we put out for them. That's the very aggressive behavior about which I have always wondered. After that stage, the female builds the nest and raises the young by herself.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds will stay in the nest for 30 days. During that time, they totally depend on the parents to feed them and keep them warm. The adults normally have one to two broods in each season.
At the end of the summer this bird flies 600 miles across the Gulf of Mexico to its winter residence. I can't fathom how it does that without stopping. After all, the male only weighs as much a 2 paper clips.
I looked up the period in which this bird can be seen here. It's from April 29 to October 12. That date was published by the Buffalo Ornithological Society in 2006.
Why am I writing about this little creature that I rarely see this time of year even though, by the BOS records, it has been seen until next month? The photographs. I just couldn't wait until spring to share them with you, even though I haven't seen this bird recently.