Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Operation Rare Hummingbird

This mission of mine has been two years in the making. I have decided to slowly change over the garden plots that the previous owner of our home created in order to lure fantastically rare hummingbirds in the fall.As our local breeding species, the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds head South, there is an ever-so-small chance that a vagrant species from the Western portion of the continent will fly their way EAST instead of SOUTH.When any vagrant bird arrives in our neck of the woods, they usually pause for a moment at the Bay, and then again at the Atlantic Ocean. Since Annapolis sits on the Chesapeake Bay, I figured that at the very least, I've got a shot.It's a long shot, but anything is possible! So I planted. I planted anything I could get my hands on, that was known to attract hummers.I took over sections of my yard that aren't really mine.BG&E might get upset that I planted a vine to climb the telephone poll... but in exchange, I've let them put a regulator on my air conditioner.I figure that it evens out in the end. I've fed the RUBY-THROATS well over the past few months. Yesterday, my wife saw one visit about 2PM and before that, Saturday was out last visit by a RUBY-THROAT. They are getting few and far between now, which means one thing: I must begin to keep a vigilant watch on my constantly-maintained hummingbird feeders. I'll be putting up more fake flowers on the roof to lure them in (by sight) if they should be commuting overhead. I even planted a rare plant from South America... or somewhere not local. I know, I know... terrible not to be native.But this is serious stuff here and I am hopeful that my horticultural grand experiment pays off. If not this year, than sometime soon. Really, the worst side effect of this madness of mine: a yard filled with late blooming red flowers. How awful, right? For the record, Jim Stasz, Maryland's preeminent birder, recommends Pineapple Sage, also known as Salvia elegans. I have several of these in the backyard ready to attract any nectar-loving Hummingbirds from any of the following Genus: Heliomaster, Colibri, Calothorax, Cynanthus, Hylocharis, Lampornis, Eugenes, Amazilia, Calypte and even Archilochus, Stellula. But more than likely, my best (and only) bet would be a Genus Selaphorous.Wish me luck! I'll keep you all posted on any surprise guests to the feeders.I will keep at least six feeders up and running until the new year. After that, I'll start my preparations for next year.

Don't even get me started on the seeds. I'll have thistle sock feeders hanging from the Maple. Six bags hung vertically proved successful at attracting Pine Siskins. I spread seed on the ground which brought in two White-crowned Sparrows and even a Grasshopper Sparrow to the back yard. I didn't plant them, but the pines and hemlocks across the street were successful at bringing in the White-winged Crossbills last winter as well. Lastly, there are forecasts that predict that this winter could be the coldest in over a decade. Hmm... cold, but at least it might bring in some rare birds. Always look on the bright side...

-Dan

1 comment:

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