Sunday, September 20, 2015

Humming hummers

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird drawing by Trudy Smoke 

At a beautiful event honoring Gale Brewer at Ft. Tryon Park tonight, Leslie and I walked through the heather garden discussing praying mantis eggs when we heard a whirr and buzz.  A ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris, zipped past us as it made its way to the next nectar-rich flower, filling itself up to prepare for its long trek to Central America for the winter.  Those little flying jewels migrate to our area in the spring to breed and then in the fall leave for warmer climes. They are sexually dimorphic and it is the male that has the iridescent ruby-red throat. The male is polygynous--a male with many female mates--and so he is on to the next female soon after sex.  The female stays with the eggs and does all the parenting.  She’s quite gorgeous too, and I wanted to show both male and female in my drawing for the Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City. Even if they don’t stay together forever, they make quite a pair.

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