|With cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)|
I don’t know how many of them are working together, but there are at least four individuals involved – I’ve seen 3 apparently chasing one, or was that two chasing two? One of them ran into the window the other day and fell to the deck, stunned. I ran out and scooped her up so that she could breathe properly (birds seem to recover better when held upright, in my experience). After about five minutes, she put her tongue back in her mouth and zoomed off, no doubt anxious to rejoin the fight.
The air is filled with the sound of their calls (chitit, chitit, chit) or their loud scolding. I hear them whenever I am outside. Sometimes they are so into the chase that the presence of humans doesn’t matter. Their mid-air acrobatics bring them oh-so-close for a split second and then they are gone. I have tried in vain to take pictures of two of them together.
I have a lot of flowers around – most of them are in the front but separated by a good distance. I thought the distance would be sufficient to allow them to share. That doesn't seem to be true. But the distance is sufficient to let various ones sneak a quick visit before being chased off. The late blooming plumleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium) has bloomed much longer than usual this year, offering up bright red trumpet blossoms long before the cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) opened.
|A sip of the Malvaviscus (yellow blotch on head is part of the flower)|
The native honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) resides on the side yard along with a few red salvia plants (Salvia coccinea). The honeysuckle has been blooming for over a month – I wonder if the hummingbird visits actually encourage it to keep going! This is the cultivar 'Major Wheeler' which is advertised as a bloom factory.
|With Lonicera sempervirens 'Major Wheeler'|
Back in the front, I was surprised to see one hummingbird repeatedly visit the skullcap (Scutellaria incana) that is blooming so profusely. It has cardinal flower right next to it and she will hop from one to the other, back and forth. It has the flower shape they love, but I am surprised that she would recognize the blue flower as, well, a flower! They seem to prefer red/pink flowers.I'm sure the games will last for many weeks yet - long after the human Olympic games are over. It looks like it's time to refill the feeder - ladies, take five!
|Checking out the Scutellaria incana|