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*Hummingbird Haven*


By Lori


This summer has been cooler than normal…with more moisture than usual. Weather plays such a pivotal role in the natural world here in the forest..and this year, with all the moisture and moderate temps has been a boon for the tall summer blooming wildflowers as well as the perennials in the flower beds. The meadow has peaked and it’s been mostly mowed so that the young plants for next year can have a greater share of the moisture that’s available and the weeds that I don’t want next year are cut down before they can go to seed. The deer meadow across the stream is turning brilliant yellow with the new goldenrod (solidago) pink and purple with the ciliolate and New England asters.

In the background you can see a very dead spruce.. That dead spruce might be thought to be either a hazard or an eyesore. I’m keeping an eye on it because it does seem to have a function in it’s decrepitude.
The hummingbird feeder is in the cedar tree near the house and all day long the hummers (can’t be sure how accurate my count is…but at least 6) zip and whirr and chirp in pursuit of a rival for the sweet nectar in the feeder. We observe hummingbird wars every day. The majority of birds seem to be their colouring…have observed only one with a ruby throat (male.) and all the others are grey (youngsters) or green backed with white or gray breast (female). The females have another reason for being here beside a food source and it’s connected to the tree….

Last week I was looking closely at the tree and trying to decide how best to remove it when I noticed that some of the limbs were a frothy gray colour. Nature’s wrecking crews are working on it! Beside the ants, the woodpeckers, the beetles and fungus..the lichens are growing thick and healthy on the crispy dead twigs and giving the tree the illusion of foliation. The living from the dead is a biblical allegory but here on this dead spruce is as pretty a creature as you’ll see anywhere. it’s a smokey gray-green and looks similar to the tree moss of the southern climes…and as pretty as it is to see, it is used by someone else! The hummingbirds seek out a supply of this lichen to line their tiny nests. It is soft and absorbent and probably has antibacterial properties as well.

The nest pictured here may be a warbler’s nest…but at the time I was sure it was a hummer’s nest. I’m also sure that I have a little lichen nest picture and will continue to search for it.

I’ve been trying for most of the spring to get a decent picture of the hummers. and it looks like it’s time to replenish the feeder as well…all the youngsters will need it!

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Oh gosh, how lovely, they are much smaller than I had imagined!

10 Aug, 2013


Wonderful, fascinating blog, thank you Lori!

10 Aug, 2013


Your reports are great -so very different from what we get here in the UK. The little nest is fantastic!

10 Aug, 2013


These little birds are so fast that all I could get before was a blur! Finally decided to use the manual settings on the camera and now I can, at least, get a focussed shot! lol...
Thanks folks!

10 Aug, 2013


What a wonderful place to live ! The Lichens indicate that you have very pure air to breathe, the same as we get
on holiday in northern Scotland. I was fascinated when I first saw them.
Thank you for a most interesting blog.

11 Aug, 2013


heaven to see the hummingbird... lori i be so full envy...

beautiful photos...

great read, loved this blog..

thank you.
from jane.

11 Aug, 2013


Lovely blog all interesting facts and I love the birds .

11 Aug, 2013


Some brilliant pics of the hummers Lori............

11 Aug, 2013


Wow! Fancy putting out bird feeders and getting something like humming birds - the mind boggles!
Providing that the tree is not a danger to person or property, it would be great to leave it and catalogue the birds and creatures that take advantage of it. From the beetles and grubs, to the birds that feed from them, to the plants and fungi that help to break it down and the birds and animals that use bits of it for nests and hibernating.

12 Aug, 2013


This year has been better, airwise, Diane because we've had a very cool summer and most of the airflow has come from the north. When it's from the south, with the sultry heat, it can get quite smoggy. This area of Ontario was settled by Scots and Irish...there are many names, places and surnames, which are from Scotland.
Thank you Diane, Jane and Kidsgran. Hi Mo! thanks.
Many people in the area feed the hummers too, Honeysuckle. they disappear when the September coolness starts..but this year it seems it's's only 19 degrees C. out there today...very cool for August. Usually this is the hottest part of our summer. Something's amiss!
Regarding the tree: it's trunk is cracking near the base and in several places higher up. If it falls the way the cracks appear to say that it's top will hit my greenhouse or it might land on our car! It will have to come down for those reasons alone. We've had some very high velocity winds so I keep a weather eye!
I could, potentially, bore everyone to snores with all the "nature" that there is to observe and report here...I am enjoying it greatly though. Glad that there are Goyers who enjoy hearing about it.

14 Aug, 2013


Lovely blog and pictures Lori!

16 Aug, 2013


Thank you, Paul.

18 Aug, 2013

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