The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been visiting the Bottle Gentian plants here. It is amazing how they go for the nectar in these wildflowers. In some situations they probe into the side of the blooms with their bill. At other times they go in from the top with their bill. In my observations, if one method is not possible, they go the other method. They have entered both ways on the bloom clusters weather the blooms are on the inside or outside in the cluster. We have had 3 Rudy-throated Hummingbirds, female, male and a young male, all 3 have hit these Bottle Gentian, Gentiana andrewsii plants. Images were taken in Waukesha Wisconsin September 6-10, 2014.
Binomial name: Archilochus colubris
Description: Metallic green feathers on back, grayish-white on underparts. Males have a vibrant red throat which may appear dark in poor lighting. Wings are dark gray, almost black. Long, slender bill is black in color and mostly straight with a slight curve at the tip.
Size: 2.8″-3.5″ long, 3” – 4” wingspan
Weight: 0.071 oz. – 0.21 oz.
Habitat: Broadleaf and pine forests, orchards, meadows, parks, and gardens
Diet: Tree and flower nectar, small insects, and spiders
Nesting: The female provides all parental care, building a nest in a protected tree or shrub on a slightly downward-sloping limb. They favor deciduous trees such as oak, birch, or poplar. The nest is made out of bud scales, lichen, spider silk, and dandelion or thistle down. The same nest may be used year after year with the female making annual repairs. The female will lay 1-3 eggs at a time, laying eggs once or twice per summer. The young remain in the nest for 22-25 days.
Notes: A list of just some of the of native wildflowers we have planted in our yard to attract these exquisite tiny birds are: Red Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Royal Catchfly (Silene regia), Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii), Butterfly Milkweed (Ascelpias tuberose), Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta), Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum), Penstemon species, Echinacea species.