Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bird in the hand one of the first in the bush

This hummingbird got caught on Cabin 9's porch and was rescued. John Andrews photo
Quick now, what do hummingbirds eat?
Flower nectar of course. Right ?
Why then do the hummingbirds return to Northwestern Ontario in May, before the flowers bloom?
I happened to witness the answer to this riddle one time while camping with the family out on Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in Lake Superior.
A yellow-bellied sapsucker, which like the hummingbird, migrates to and from the region with the seasons, drilled a hole in a white birch tree right near our tent. Since it was spring the sap was flowing fine. After sampling the sap he flew on to another tree and did the same thing. Right about then a hummingbird showed up at the first hole and took a drink of the sap. When the sapsucker moved to yet another tree the hummingbird moved to the second tree. They went through the whole forest like this, returning in about an hour to the first tree and starting all over.
Birch sap isn't as sweet as maple but it does have some sugar content as shown by the fact you can make syrup from it.
The only hummingbird species in Northwestern Ontario is the ruby-throated. We have four feeders hanging on the lodge at camp and these are fed upon heavily during the warm summer months.
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