Male rufous hummingbird on honeysuckleIt seems quieter around our house than usual, and I think I know the reason: in the last day or two, Buzzy (shown above – click on photo to enlarge) and the other adult male Rufous hummingbirds appear to have taken off on their southern journey. They’ll be heading over to the Rockies, where they’ll tank up on wildflower nectar, then on to Mexico – completing a 4000+ mile-long, clockwise circuit of the continent.

That trip began earlier this year, when Buzzy and his buddies travelled up the Pacific coast from their winter home. They arrived here in early March to stake out their breeding territories, and immediately started making their presence known with steep dives, loud chirps and a rattling buzz aimed to intimidate any creature, large or small (including resident humans).

The females – a much more sedate group – came a couple of weeks later, to go about their quiet business of building a home and raising the next generation. Right away, Buzzy and the guys began their relentless harassment – chasing the females (and later, the young) away from the feeders and favorite plants with loud, quick attacks. These guys definitely don’t like to share their food or enjoy a relaxing moment with the wife and kids!

The females and young have been kept on high alert and in constant motion. But thankfully, they’ll get a reprieve now, until it’s their turn to head south in a few weeks. In the meantime, hopefully they can find some peaceful enjoyment here: although the honeysuckle that Buzzy guarded (shown below, a few weeks later – click to enlarge) is now past its prime, the Maltese cross and rue are at their peak, and we’ve got plenty of tasty insects to spare.

honeysuckle in bloom

A reminder if you’re on Gabriola Island this summer: about a dozen of my marine-focused prints are on display at Gabriola’s popular dockside eatery, Silva Bay Restaurant & Pub. I hope you’ll stop by for a meal and have a look.

About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer and writer focusing on nature and the environment

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