Sunday, June 23, 2013

hiking in ft. collins, co

hiking by the horsetooth reservoir (ft. collins, colorado) will (literally) take your breath away! 
 below: going up?

 below: going up (again)?

Monday, June 10, 2013

hummer h[e]aven

hummer h[e]aven [i]
by forthe little birds

it’s early june in charlotte, making it warm enough for birds, but still a little cool (for bees).  while there have been no ‘cries of the cicada’ yet, the hummingbird frenzy is in full swing.  here’s what we’ve observed, at riverfront:

ruby throated hummingbirds
the cast of characters:

we’ve got male (red-necks) and female/young gray bellies.  it appears that three alphas (one redneck, two of the grays) have stepped up to the plate, but at present, it’s still anybody’s game.

meet the red-necks

redneck 2013: redneck 2013 is either one (or two birds that look identical).  he’s typical and territorial, but he always gives way to ‘bright red’, below:


bright red (neck): fondly referred to as ‘bright red’, he has a radiant red neck that can be seen from 30-50 feet away.  

'the bright one' acquiesces to the current redneck alpha, ‘dirty little red’.


dirty little red (neck): also known as ‘scruffy’, ‘scruf’, and ‘alpha’... this red-neck is beginning to exert his dominance.  i’m convinced that he’s a repeat offender (from last year).  he sits, waits, and then chases away any would-be nectar-sippers. 

 below, the scruf exudes power.

ruby diamond: ‘ruby’ is named after florida state university’s ruby diamond auditorium, partially because he can sing.  he has a red, diamond-shaped marking on his throat, which means that he has trouble communicating (at times).

male ruby-throats show the diamond mark, before embracing the full red neck -- later in life.

meet the grays

gracie: gracie looks a lot like gracie from last year, but it is difficult to determine.  she has a long, gray neck, she’s grace-full, and large.  she’s part alpha, and she loves to dance/fight with ‘greenback’.

greenback: greenback is the biggest bird of the brood.  s/he (not surprisingly) has a vibrant, green sheen to the back of the body.  s/he prefers to fly while feeding, as shown below:

gray belly: gray belly is (frankly speaking) about to pop!  she’s pregnant with triplets, and she’s got a very big belly.  this future mom is not afraid to belly-up for a drink, and she will even sit (and gulp) on occasion.

the gang of five
the gang of five is a group of small gray-bellies who run together and wreak havoc around all of the feeders.  alone, they give way to the alphas, but United, they create diversions, they attack multiple feeders, or they use a swarming effect to chase an alpha away from a feeder.  since they are young, the jury is out as to whether they are male or female.  i therefore assign gender based upon personality.  here’s who’s who:

  • fifty shades of gray: ‘fifty’ or ‘shades’ is a chameleon.  he can make himself small, and slip inside for a quick drink, or he can bow-up and chest bump with the best of the rest of them.  he often gives way to fifty shades freed.
  • fifty shades freed: ‘free’ might appear to be submissive, but she is actually the dominatrix of the mix.  she is coy, cunning, powerful, alluring.  a future alpha, for sure.
  • ‘chugger’ is a small bird who loves the multiple-hole feeders.  he misses no opportunity to sit down and chug-a-lug, often being chased (or annoyed) away by ‘flutters’.   

  • ‘flutters’ is one of those birds who flies in, stops, and then darts forward and away, again and again, hovering (and making a lot of unnecessary noise).  flutters doesn’t know if she wants to drink, kiss, bump, or run away.  not a good communicator.  a truly confused (and truly confusing) bird.
  • f-5: ‘f-5’ is the neighborhood wildman.  he races in toward the feeder of this choice, but only if another bird is already there.  he then stops on a dime, and bows-up his chest before fanning-out his tail feathers.  with his exaggerated tail and wingspan, he looks like a hovering fighter-jet.  i thought of changing his name to ‘harrier’, but ‘f-5’ is more suitable.

meet 'hopper'.  she is our giant neighborhood rabbit.

hopper has a son, 'hops'.  he likes to eat, hop, and play hide and seek.

stay tuned for tonight's video... (uh, oh, here it is!)  entitled 'frenzy at dusk'.  see if you can keep up.

[i] martino, j. (5.21-2.2013). book 78: spring past into the future  © 2013 by

jamestown, rhode island



 the path
above: kevin martineau on the path