Comparing notes with friends, we realized that there weren't as many anywhere in northern New Mexico this year, and their presence seemed to fluctuate. On the 4th of July, just in time to represent the orange-red part of the color spectrum, the Rufous hummingbirds arrived, but it was not until the last two weeks that we saw a dramatic increase. The population blasted from around 250 birds to roughly 360.
How do we know the number of birds? Here is the formula - 8 ounces or one cup of liquid consumed in a 24 hour period represents 40 birds. According to a documentary film on hummingbirds, they need to feed every fifteen minutes. Imagine the traffic surrounding four, one quart feeders. It is a non-stop flying circus, with creatures relentless in their pursuit of C&H (California and Hawaiian Sugar Company with the added irony that the chemical composition of sugar is C12H22O11). After the rufous join the mix of broad-tailed, black-chinned, and calliopes, one feeder is guarded by the ultra-territorial rufous, making it more difficult for the other birds to get to it. Occasionally, the numbers of others are so great that it becomes impossible to guard, but the rufous don't let it happen too often.
...and in action!
until next Monday,
a passion for the image