Arizonensis --> Sonoran Desert Naturalist --> Urban Habitats --> Backyard Naturalist --> January
Jan 31, 2003: Today was very warm with temperatures close to 30° C! Birds and insects alike were active and in 'reproductive mode'. Above my compost heap dozens of scatopsid flies were hovering about, many as tandem pairs. An Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) came to take advantage of this otherwise distracted food source. Hovering within the swarm the hummingbird flicked out its sticky tongue to capture flies. After taking a couple of dozen flies it flew off and returned a few minutes later; I interpreted this to mean she was feeding young in the nest. I was able to sit quietly and observe this fascinating feeding behavior from less than a meter distance. Some people forget that hummingbirds require a balanced diet that includes many insects in addition to flower nectar or sugar water from feeders. Thus an organic yard with a supply of tiny insects is what hummers like.
Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009