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Friday, June 27, 2014

Kids In A Candy Store

I love this time of year. Spring has given way to summer, and the parks are full of feathered teenagers trying to find their place in the world. This is especially evident among the local hummingbirds as dozens of these colorful youngsters reach the age of independence just as several different species of plants begin to bloom. 

The nectar these plants produce is a boon to the birds, giving them an easily accessible energy source right when they need it most. The newly fledged Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds are like kids in a candy store gorging themselves on a nearly endless supply of sugar. And like kids who have had too much sugar, the diminutive birds continuously get into squabbles, chattering at, chasing, and fighting with one another. Adult birds are in the mix too, drinking their fill and correcting bold, young upstarts who dare to challenge their elders.

I spent several hours yesterday with a rowdy group of hummingbirds that had formed around a cluster of blooming Snowberry bushes and Fireweed plants. It was a dark, overcast day, but the color of both blossoms and birds still shined through the gloom. The following photos will give you a glimpse of what I saw.

Even in the overcast conditions the color of both birds and flowers was stunning. Here, an Anna's Hummingbird sips from a Fireweed blossom.