July Hummingbird Studies
Evening ACES Hummingbird Study at West Buttermilk Road
Thursday, July 14, 2021 7:45pm-9pm
Weather: Mostly clear
This outing focused on our two local breeding species (broad-tailed and black-chinned), plus migratory species that pass through the Rockies on their post-nesting, southbound migration (rufous and calliope). We observed three out of the four possible species this evening, during the last feeding bout of the day before the hummingbirds go to roost for the night and the sights and sounds of their activity come to an abrupt halt. Many birds had pollen dusted on their bills, foreheads, and chins, confirming that hummingbirds forage on wildflower nectar and insects, and with supplementary visits to feeders. Filling their fuel tanks before roosting is critical, especially for hummingbirds that spend time in mountain habitats where nighttime temperatures are chilly and it can take all of their reserves to get through the night. Behaviors, sounds (vocalizations as well as wing-produced sounds), field marks, and life history were discussed and observed for adult males and females, and immatures. Perhaps more amazing than learning about the many extreme adaptations of hummingbirds was feeling the energy of more than 150 hummingbirds in one place! Join us for more special outings coming up this month and through the fall!
Morning Hummingbird Study at West Buttermilk Road
Friday, July 15, 2021 7am-9am
The hummingbird study is a much-anticipated annual outing to a prime location on West Buttermilk Road where more that 150 hummingbirds may be seen at once, and at close range. We began this outing with a stop at the pond at the base of West Buttermik Road where we saw recently fledged red-winged blackbirds, song sparrows, yellow warblers, violet-green swallows, mallards, flickers, and a sora (heard only). We had hoped to observe hummingbirds in natural habitat, and while none were around the pond at that time, we had heard and seen many flying over us while we met for the outing in the adjacent parking lot. Next, up the road at our primary destination, we experienced broad-tailed, black-chinned, and rufous hummingbirds feeding and resting around a site with six large feeders. The consistency of feeding at this location over many years has made it a regular feeding site for many hummingbirds, hence their large numbers and predictability. Being able to observe birds together and at close range as we did here, allows for side-by-side comparisons and rich discussions, taking birding skills and life history knowledge to new heights. Join us next week at Rock Bottom Ranch, Upper Lost Man Trail, and North Star Nature Preserve!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong