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Pix of Handfeeding Ruby-throats at the Shalaway residence in WV























Here below is the email about the situation depicted in the above pix posted by

Scott Shalaway on PABIRDS, WVBIRDS, and HUMNET.

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Subject: Hand feeding hummers
From: Scott Shalaway 
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 11:04:53 EDT

I've noticed a number of posts asking about early Ruby-throated Hummingbird
numbers and I've gotten lots of similar letters from reader of my newspaper
column.  My answer parallels hummer guru Bob Sargent's -- I usually see only a
few hummers in May and June, and then the big post-nesting pulse comes in
late July and August.
 
This year has been pleasantly different.  I've been seeing as many as 10
birds at the feeders since late May.
 
Now the point of this post.  Yesterday morning one of my feeders was bone
dry, so I rinsed it and refilled it.  As I approached the hanger, two hummers
approached.  They began drinking before I even hung the feeder on the hook.
After hanging the feeder, I just stood with my face about six inches from the
feeder.  In less than 60 seconds, birds  began coming in, buzzing, dipping,
darting, feeding, fighting -- all with inches of my face.  Their beating wings
cooled my face.  At times four birds  fed at once at all four ports.  Sometimes
birds hovered so close to my eyes I could not focus on them.  With all the activity
it was difficult to count the birds, but there were at least 12 individuals.
 
After a few minutes, I placed my hands on both sides of the feeder, right at
perch level.  The birds ignored me.  As they hovered to feed, I slowly lifted my
fingers under their dangling legs.  When we touched, the birds grabbed my finger tips
and sipped while perched.  This continued for about ten minutes until I could no longer
hold my arms up.
 
This was one of the most amazing nature encounter I've ever  experienced.  I
just couldn't believe my eyes.  It reminded me of  those photos of the lady
hand feeding hummers in La. that have been circulating on the internet for the
last 18 months or so.

[SEE: http://www.pbase.com/sam_and_abigail/hummingbirds -RMP]
 
When my wife and daughter came home yesterday, I recounted the story and had
them try it.  Same results!  This time I got photos of the birds with Linda
and Emma's faces in the background.  They too continued until their arms tired.
 
This morning the feeder was again dry and when I refilled it, the birds came
right back and I had them on my hands again.  I just had to tell someone right
away. Hope you enjoyed the telling, and I encourage everyone to give it a try.
I've done nothing to train or try to tame these  birds.  They just seemed to enjoy
putting on a show.
 
 
Scott Shalaway, Ph.D.
Naturalist/Nature  Writer
R.D. 5, Box 76
Cameron, WV  26033

304-686-2630
sshalaway AT aol.com

Catch my radio  shows:

Saturday mornings from 9 to 11 on 1370 WVLY, Wheeling  (www.wvly.net) 

Saturday afternoons from 3 to 5 PM on 1360 WPTT-AM, Pittsburgh
http://www.1360wptt.com/shalaway - click the "Listen Live" icon in the corner
or live online, from anywhere, at http://www.talkshoe.com/  Just register
(it's free),  and look for Birds & Nature in the "Science" section. You can 
even  download past shows.

Read my weekly nature column in many newspapers,
including these (just search my name): 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  (http://post-gazette.com/sports/outdoors) 
Charleston (WV) Gazette  (http://www.wvgazette.com) 
Wheeling (WV) News-Register (http://www.news-register.net)