People have been talking for some time now about sightings of a female ruby-throated hummingbird in the conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. But the tiny birds are super-fast and hard to spot! Juliet Berger, the ornithologist with the City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation, along with folks from the Washtenaw Audubon Society, managed to get some candid shots of the little critter and forwarded them to us.
Ruby must have slipped in last summer and then, when fall arrived, figured out that the conditions in the conservatory are pretty plush for a hummingbird—why leave? According to allaboutbirds.org, the Cornell Ornithology Lab’s website, the RT hummingbird’s conservation concern is low and their populations have been increasing since the mid-1960s.
Juliet Berger writes: “Looks like you have a guest for the winter. A female ruby-throated hummingbird must have sneaked through the roof vents in the late fall, and your tropical rain forest flowers are just the ticket for her, and what she’d be feeding on anyway in Central and South America. Combine that with a few gnats and spiders, and the warm conditions, and she is in paradise. Come early May, we’ll want to make sure she gets out of the Conservatory, so she can return to her home territory to breed, so if she can’t find her way out of the roof vents, let’s make sure we get Allen Chartier, our Michigan Hummingbird bander and expert, on the case.”
We will be trying this spring to band and release the bird. Another great reason to visit the conservatory this winter! (Photos by Carol Poulos and Bruce Moorman.)