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Archive for the 'hummingbirds' Category

Hummingbird builds nest at Pittsburg Power Plant

Hummingbird nest at Mirant’s Pittsburg Generating Plant. Photo by Jon Ridler, Pittsburg, CA.
hummers4 jon ridler

Gary:
PG&E may have falcons, but Mirant’s Pittsburg Generating Plant has hummingbirds! These two babies are being raised in a nest on a bearing cooling water return line for a 6 unit condensate booster pump. The water line is warmer (but not too warm) so it’s an ideal nesting location. Mirant employees have marked off the area and are keeping an eye on their young visitors which are approximately 10 days old. These photos were taken March 21 by Jon Ridler, 24-year employee at the plant and member of Worth A Dam.
Heidi Perryman, Worth A Dam, Martinez, CA

Hummingbird nest on bearing cooling water return line. Photo by Jon Ridler, Pittsburg, CA
hummers3 jon ridler

Hi Heidi:
Thanks for sharing these GREAT photos. Hummingbirds don’t mess around. If you need to keep your babies warm, why mess around building your nest in a Pittsburg backyard? Build it at a Pittsburg Power Plant instead! Hummers — you gotta love ‘em! /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
Under: hummingbirds | 1 Comment »

Hummingbirds fill their nests with fairy tale fillings

Hummingbird nest by Ben Phipps, Benicia, California
hum nest ben phipps benicia

Hi Gary,  enjoy your column very much.
I’ve been feeding my “Hummers” in the backyard for most of the 25 years that I’ve lived here in Benicia.  Always thought that they must have had many nests over the years but never had a clue where to look until just last week.

I saw a Hummingbird fly into and disappear in our Jacaranda tree.  After much looking, I found the Hummingbird sitting on, and protecting as I found out, a beautiful, tiny nest.
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Posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Under: hummingbirds | No Comments »

Your backyard: Grass, trees, and beautiful moving things

cat and squirrel by John Campolo, Pleasanton, CA
cat squirr campolo

Hello Gary:
Two years ago I became permanently disabled due to Multiple Sclerosis caused fatigue. Since then I have become the home cook and I get to spend time in my backyard making friends and photographing them. Most people look at a backyard and see grass and trees, I see all the moving things in them.
John Campolo, Pleasanton

Hi John:
And such wonderful, moving things they are! Turn the page, dear readers, and enjoy a yardfull of John’s beautiful moving things … /Gary
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Posted on Thursday, December 10th, 2009
Under: Birds, Cats, hummingbirds, Insects, Robins, Squirrels | 4 Comments »

Hummingbird high: Nutsy the “hummer,” bright-eyed and bushy tailed

Photo by Roger & Diane Craig, Danville, CA
hum squirrel1 roger craig

Gary:
This is our friend Nutsy who thinks he’s a hummingbird.
Roger & Diane Craig, Danville, CA
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Posted on Friday, November 13th, 2009
Under: hummingbirds, Squirrels | No Comments »

White hummingbird: What the heck is this strange colored hummer?

Leucistic hummingbird. Photo by Don McConnell, Oakland, CA
White hum2 mcconnell
Gary:
A cream-colored hummingbird with a rusty back has been visiting my feeder, fighting with the Anna’s hummers that usually dominate it. It doesn’t resemble any of the hummers in the Sibley guide. This was my first effort at setting up a tripod and focusing on a feeder – I didn’t realize that meant I’d have to stand there and pray the bird showed up. But it did eventually, at twilight, which is why the shots are dark. I also sent photos of an Anna’s male, earlier in the day, showing the tiny iridescent plates on its head.
But what the heck is my cream-and-rust hummer? I live in the Oakland hills west of 580, by the way.
Don McConnell, Oakland
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Posted on Friday, September 25th, 2009
Under: hummingbirds | 1 Comment »

That’s not a hummingbird, it’s a hummingbird MOTH!

Hummingbird moth in Greve, Italy, about 25 miles south of Florence. Photo by Don Morgan, Concord, CA
hummer moth

Hi Gary:
This past June my family took a trip to Italy (Chianti region). Our last day there, I spotted what first looked like a very large bug in a patch of lavender. It was moving between the flowers. It had a long bill which then made me think it was a hummingbird. But when I looked at its body, it almost looked like the body of an insect. Based on the bill and the hovering between flowers I’m sticking with my hummingbird theory.
Don, Concord

Hi Don:
Not a hummingbird. It’s a “hummingbird” moth. Note the two antennae, which birds don’t have. The “bill” is actually a long proboscis that curls up when not in use and uncurls when it probes into a flower for nectar. We have a similar San Francisco Bay Area species called a sphinx moth. They hover in front of flowers like hummingbirds as they feed on the nectar.

Sometimes I think Mother Nature likes to play with our minds. /Gary
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Posted on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
Under: hummingbirds, Moths | 2 Comments »

Hummingbirds vs. Hawks: It has nothing to do with size

Hummingbird vs. red-tail hawk (Bryan McClure/Concord, CA)
humming hawk

These interesting photos by Bryan McClure of Concord, California, show a curious Anna’s hummingbird zooming in to have a closer look at an immature red-tailed hawk sitting on a power pole that’s probably right smack in the middle of the hummingbird’s territory.

When it comes to defending its turf, hummingbirds don’t give a hoot about size. Fortunately for the hawk,it doesn’t compete with the hummer for flower nectar … otherwise the tiny but VERY AGGRESSIVE hummingbird would have quickly sent it on its way.
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Posted on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
Under: hummingbirds | 1 Comment »

Hey hummingbird feeders! You’re not going to believe this video!

So how many hummingbirds are visiting your backyard hummingbird feeder? Two? Three? Or maybe just one grouchy male hummingbird that chases all the other hummingbirds away?

You’re not going to believe this. Enjoy! /Gary

Posted on Monday, July 27th, 2009
Under: hummingbirds | No Comments »

Hummingbird bathing in a fountain — BEAUTIFUL & FUNNY!

Hummingbird bathing in fountain by Gayle Hasley, Concord, Calif.
humbath1

Dear Gary:
It’s a beautiful day in paradise — my tiny 12’ x 20’ garden on the second highest density street in Concord.

It is filled this morning with titmice, doves, goldfinches, chickadees, hummingbirds and a huge Cooper’s hawk floating overhead, searching for things for their nest just 5 big trees away. All of the birds love the fountain in the garden and they come to drink and bath … but it is the hummers who take visible joy in it.
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Posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
Under: Bird bath, hummingbirds | No Comments »

Wanna see how tiny a hummingbird egg is? Check this out!

Anna’s hummingbird and eggs. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, Calif.
hummegg1

The hummingbird’s nest is the size of half a walnut. A female Anna’s hummingbird like the one in this photo is about 3-inches tall.

The egg is a little over a quarter inch long … about the size of a coffee bean or half the size of a tiny Jelly Belly jellybean.

When the baby hummer hatches from the egg, it is so tiny it can sit comfortably on a quarter … on George Washington’s forehead. Amazing creatures, aren’t they?
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Posted on Friday, March 20th, 2009
Under: Hummingbird eggs, hummingbirds | 6 Comments »