Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Royal Catchfly

I had another opportunity to photograph the Ruby-throated Hummingbird in my backyard, this time enjoying Royal Catchfly (Silene regia).  As I mentioned in my last post on this fascinating species (Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Bee Balm), these hummingbirds favor red tubular flowers most of all.  Royal Catchfly, a native of Missouri, is an excellent candidate here.

Photographs taken July 21, 2013 in Waukesha County, WI.

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To see the full gallery of images, please click here.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Red Bee Balm

Just this week, I had the chance to photograph a Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Bee Balm at length in our yard in Waukesha, WI.  The action I captured was of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird repeatedly visiting a bed of Red Bee Balm in our yard. This solitary species is enjoyable to watch as it darts, hovers, rotates, perches, and flies both forwards and backwards (Hummingbirds are the only bird species currently known to fly backwards).  They favor red tubular flowers for nectar as is demonstrated by the vibrant Red Bee Balm pictured (Monarda didyma).

Pictures taken on July 15, 2013 in Waukesha County.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Red Bee Balm

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Binomial name: Archilochus colubris

Category: Hummingbirds

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), Butterfly Milkweed (Ascelpias tuberose), Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta), Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum), Penstemon species, Echinacea species.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Red Bee Balm

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Red Bee Balm

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Red Bee Balm

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Red Bee Balm

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Red Bee Balm

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Red Bee Balm

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Red Bee Balm

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Red Bee Balm

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Red Bee Balm

To see the full gallery of images, please click here.

Wildflowers and Dragonflies

Wildflower and Dragonfly images from Waukesha, Wisconsin, July 14, 2013.

Compass Plant, Silphium laciniatum

Compass Plant, Silphium laciniatum

Ruby Meadowhawk, Sympetrum rubicundulum

Pale Purple Coneflower, Echinacea pallida

Pale Purple Coneflower, Echinacea pallida

Halloween Pennat, Celithemis eponina

Halloween Pennat, Celithemis eponina

Butterfly Plant Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Plant Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa

Marsh Phlox, Phlox glaberrima

Marsh Phlox, Phlox glaberrima

Eastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis

Eastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis

Compass Plant, Silphium laciniatum

Compass Plant, Silphium laciniatum

False Sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides

False Sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides

Pale Purple Coneflower, Echinacea pallida

Pale Purple Coneflower, Echinacea pallida

Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa

Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa

Halloween Pennat, Celithemis eponina

Halloween Pennat, Celithemis eponina

Culver's Root, Veronicastrum virgincum

Culver’s Root, Veronicastrum virgincum

Purple Prairie Clover, Petalostemum purpureum

Purple Prairie Clover, Petalostemum purpureum

Butterfly Plant Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Plant Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa

Yellow Coneflower, Ratibida pinnata

Yellow Coneflower, Ratibida pinnata

Red Beebalm, Monarda didyma

Red Bee Balm, Monarda didyma