Hummingbirds!

There is only one species of Hummingbird in the Chicago aea, the Ruby Throated Hummingbird. They spend their winters in Central America and arrive here in May. Throughout the summer, though, there was almost no sign of them in our garden this year.

Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Ruby Throated Hummingbird 

That changed about 10 days ago. Since then, we see hummingbirds almost every time we approach the front steps. Usually they are feeding at the containers stuffed with Hummingbird-attracting annuals.

DSC_0797 Hummingbird

Using the sports setting and a zoom lens, Judy got some pretty amazing photographs. These tiny guys move around so fast that they are a blur much of the time. Of course, that is part of what makes them so fascinating – plus their ability to hover like tiny helicopters.

DSC_0795
Hummingbird feeding at Cigar Plant.

Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea) is a big hummingbird favorite. 

Hummingbird feeding at Star Flower.
Hummingbird feeding at Star Flower.

They also really like Star Flower (Pentas lanceolata).

Hummingbird feeding on Tithonia
Hummingbird feeding on Tithonia

And like the butterflies, they are very fond of Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia lanceolata). 

DSC_0799 hummingbird

After a while I thought the hummingbirds were getting tired of having their pictures taken. Is he mooning us here?

Despite this suspected rudeness, it’s been exciting having the hummingbirds around. 

Have you seen hummingbirds in your garden this year?

65 Comments on “Hummingbirds!

  1. I hate to say it but we have oodles Jason. They come for the monarda and stay for the phlox, echinacea, glads, Obedient plant, hosta flowers, catmint, and lobelia. I plant a big patch of monarda near the house so I can watch them.

  2. Hi Jason. These are great shots. We have had hummingbirds at our feeder and flowers all summer. We also only have the ruby throated ones here. We have seen a marked increase in the feeding the last week and they fatten up for their trip south. Amazing little birds!

  3. Aren’t they fun to watch? Great photos. I can never get a clear image of hummingbirds. We’ve had a good number of them this summer. In my garden they like monarda, echinacea and salvias.

  4. As the Will Co .Audubon birders know there is a large (hummingbird) moth that fools a lot of non-birders into thinking they have discovered a hummingbird. We sometimes get more than just the Ruby-throated in our area. When one of these western visitors shows up, ” birders” are really attracted to the garden so honored by this rare visitor. To attract these visitors plant more flowers with long`neck blossoms, preferably in reddish tones. You might also add hummingbird feeders. Ccheck out the Illinois Audubon Society’s website for location of “banding” sites. Maryann Gossmann, Montgomery COS, IAS (Will & Morgan Co.chapters)

    • I have seen the hummingbird moth, though they haven’t been around this year. They look like something out of Dr. Seuss. Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  5. Oh my, what a treat it must be to see them, I have only seen them in photographs….such astonishingly beautiful birds. I have enjoyed your pics Jason, even if I am a little jealous.xxx

  6. We have some. My neighbor, who watches keenly, says there are three. Ours are year-round residents. It is amazing to think of those tiny little creatures out there in the cold and wet of Winter.

  7. Great pictures! I finally started seeing them in the yard a couple of weeks ago as well. Not long enough for any photos though. Enjoy!

  8. Also want to add that a former neighbor told me to have my HB feeder filled and ready to go by 11 April. It’s been good advice.

  9. Kudos to Judy for some fantastic photos! About the only decent hummingbird photos I manage to get are while they are at the feeders–in other words, not moving:) We’ve had quite a few hummingbirds all summer long, but they really have been active the last week or so. I think they must be fueling up for their migration soon. ‘Black and Blue’ Salvia and a rosy salvia called ‘Wendy’s Wish’ seem to be their favorite here.

  10. Judy got some superb shots indeed! Oh my!!! I have seen many as well but I do not have the skills like Judy so I have yet to capture one so beautifully. They come to my garden for my annual Wendy’s Wish. Such a joy when I can spot one to show the beans! I just taught my oldest bean how many times their wings flap per second….she always reminds me that they lay the smallest eggs! So fun…beautiful photos!!! Have a great weekend Jason! Nicole

    • Sad indeed. Still, I can only feel a bit mournful for you, there in sunny Italy with your red poppies and olive trees (and Italian food).

  11. Lovely shots. We don’t have them in Europe, so I just have to settle for the hummingbird hawk moths instead! 😉

  12. Hello Jason, it must be lovely to have hummingbirds in the garden and those shots are incredible! In our old garden, I ended up growing lots of plants for hummingbirds, but of course, they never came, because they’re all in your amazing garden!

  13. Great pix!!! I see them most often at the zinnias by the patio, simply because of the plants’ proximity to the house. The hummingbirds usually arrive here around June 1, a welcome sign of summer. I also see hummingbird moths on occasion.

  14. Great photos of that elusive species! I thought I would see more, especially at the garden where a lot of the farmers grow zinnias and tithonias. I did see one. Maybe more will pass by on their way even further South than Georgia!

  15. Great hummingbird shots! It is so exciting to have hummers in the garden. They really liven up the place! We have hummingbirds from early spring to late fall. We usually have one or two pairs mate in spring but fall is the peak time for hummers in our garden. Our local hummer organization said that you can estimate the number of hummers in your garden by multiplying the number you see at one time by 6.

  16. I’d love to say I’ve had hummingbirds visiting my garden, unfortunately they don’t do Scotland 😉
    Such a beautiful little visitor to have and glad to see they are having their fill at Jason and Judy’s.

  17. We get “hummie” visits to the fuchsia outside our dining room several times a day. The most I have seen at one time has been 3 birds. I love to hear the chatter of the birds as they fight over their territory.

  18. Ahhhh… the sports setting, now why couldn’t I figure that out!?
    We’ve had hummers for most of the later half of the summer. I’m glad you got yours though, it would be a shame for all those hummer-flowers to go to waste!

  19. I have a lot of hummers but doubt I’ll ever succeed in taking a photo of one. Everyone will just have to take my word for it. I need to give that cigar plant a try. :o)

  20. We’ve had hummingbirds at the feeders and flowers since May. I’m surprised you haven’t seen any until now. Maybe they’ve been there, but now they’re more plentiful as the ones from the north migrate through? But, I agree with the others–Judy is a very talented photographer! Those little buggers move fast–especially when they’re hovering at the flowers. I only seem to have luck when they’re resting at the feeders. ;^)

  21. They are beautiful pictures Jason. They are so difficult to take pictures of! I think we had a nest of them in the garden this year but we did not find it.

  22. Great photos and I am so jealous. I have yet to see one hummer in my yard. They are not even showing up at the Portage where I have seen them in droves. I guess I can’t be a tiny oasis in a desert for these guys. But I still have hope.

      • As luck or fate or whatever would have it I did have one female hummingbird stop by one of my three feeders last night. She must have been hungry, she sat on the feeder and drank her fill four or five times. She’s gone, now I will wait for the next visitor.

  23. I’ve had quite a few here this summer. They loved the bee balm under my kitchen window, and of course the hanging fuchsia on the front porch. Since the bee balm is pretty much done now, they’ve moved over to the “vegetable” garden and seem to favor the zinnias. Last night I was in that garden picking some tomatoes when a hummer buzzed my head! Funny! Lastly, my Crown of Thorns plant is summering on the front porch, in the far, shady corner, and I’ve frequently seen a hummingbird visit it!

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