August 16, 2021
Jewels in My Garden
- as seen by -Julie Larsen Maher
Among the frilly flowers of a bee balm (Monarda didyma), I spot something. It is hovering, flitting up and down, even flying backward. It is so small, I have to squint to see if it is an insect or a bird.
It is a female ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris). She has come to her summer home. I pick up my camera just in time to catch her taking aim with her bill and then flicking her slender tongue into the tube-shaped blooms to gather nectar, something she can do 15 to 20 times per second.
Hummingbirds live in a variety of habitats including woodlands, meadows, gardens, and backyards. There, hummers are attracted to warm-colored blossoms in orange, pink, and particularly red.
I followed the planting advice of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo Senior Gardener, Dave Hyde. He recommends a list of plants that butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds can’t seem to resist including bee balm. I have seen all three at my flowers. This little hummingbird even brings her young by.
They are all jewels in my garden.