Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ladies Last

At the optometrist a male customer and the female clerk were talking about the fading summer while I, waiting for new specs to be fitted,  read all about Brad and Angelina's wedding.

"Only female hummingbirds at my place now," he said.
"Where did the males go?" she said.
"Males are always first to migrate in the fall. They leave the females behind."
"Don't know."
"Probably so they can take care of all the cleaning and locking up."

I'd noticed that my corps of Ruby-Throats became all female every September before the hummingbirds disappeared entirely, but today I learned from something I didn't know: that males also arrive first in spring because "the earliest males have their choice of the best territories, which improves their chances of attracting females for breeding." Being early, they risk  not finding enough food. In fall, males depart up to three weeks before the females and the juveniles so as to give the youth a chance to grow a little stronger before their long and demanding flight to southern Mexico and the Yucatan. also tells me that my regulars probably already left and the ladies I'm seeing squeaking and dive-bombing each other at my nectar feeders are from north of here and are passing through.

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