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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Ruby-throat checks in

I've been expecting it for days and today it finally happened. The first male Ruby-throated Hummingbird turned up in my backyard.

Okay, I cannot tell a lie. This is not actually the bird I saw today but a visitor from last year. I didn't have a camera in my hand when I saw the bird today. But he looked just like this!

I was on one of my frequent breaks from pruning the thorny hedge along my back fence, and, seated in my favorite chair, I was gazing at my little redbud tree that is in full bloom just now, when the little bird darted in to visit the feeder hanging from one of the tree's limbs. He took a good long drink and then flew away to a limb to preen. After a bit, he came back for seconds. While he was visiting that feeder, I noticed that the Rufous Hummingbird that has spent the winter here was visiting her favorite feeder which is hung next to a crape myrtle tree about 25 feet away from the redbud. I didn't witness any hummingbird disputes while I was watching. Each bird seemed content with its own feeder. Since I have confirmation that the Ruby-throats have arrived now, I may hang my third feeder in the front yard.

I checked the migration map for the Ruby-throats and saw that there are sightings reported in six southern states now. I also checked back over my own eBird records, because I couldn't remember ever having seen a Ruby-throat quite this early. Sure enough - March 13 is my earliest yard record for the bird. My previous earliest record was March 17, 2006.


  1. Yea! The first RT hummer of the season. We have had such an early spring, so it is not surprising you would see one so soon. The Rufous female is still at my feeder. Wonder how long she will stick around?

    1. The first is always exciting, especially when it comes so early. I'm wondering about my Rufous, too, Steph. I've never had one spend the winter before so I really have no clue how long they stick around in the spring.