I was hoping to bring you some pictures and video of a Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) taking a bath, but the hummingbird did not get the memo on what he was supposed to do. Since hummingbirds are so small they can’t take a bath the way you see most birds bathing by dipping in a puddle or bird bath. Instead they look for plants with large leaves that collect water and use them as their bird bath.
I set up a sprinkler to water the perennial garden where we had witnessed the hummingbird using the Ladies Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) for a bath a couple of days ago. The sprinkler ran for over an hour and didn’t entice the hummer to bathe once. You will have to take my word for it for now and hopefully the hummingbird will cooperate for me the next time I attempt to catch him in the act.
The hummingbird watching wasn’t a total loss today though. Our male Ruby-throated Hummingbird was somewhat cooperative and did allow me some very nice photo and video opportunities. Since he has staked claim to our yard he enjoys sitting atop a large spruce tree to keep an eye on his territory. We have 3 hummingbird feeders and many flowering plants and shrubs for him to enjoy. If another male ventures into the yard he will swoop down tweeting loudly to drive him off.
The entire time I was out in the backyard, about two hours, he spent most of his time sitting at the very top of the spruce tree. He would venture off occasionally for a sip of nectar from one of the feeders or flowering shrubs and quickly return to keep watch. Most of the photos I was able to take didn’t show the ruby red color very well. It mostly looks black in the photos. The sun really has to hit it just right to get that beautiful flash. I was able to get some video of him sitting on top of the tree. You can see how much time he spends just looking from one side to the other. If you watch closely you can see him flick his tongue a few times. The background sounds are of the other birds in the yard and Charlie telling me about the planting he was in the middle of while I played in the yard.