Rufie's Diary (kept by Gerry Stewart)

Part 1: October, 2002

Photo of immature male Rufous Hummingbird by Bill Hilton, Jr.

October 16, 2002, Rufie first appears: At 11:30 am, Gerry complained to her friends, "I miss the hummingbirds already! Of course, that happens every year. <sigh>"

Ten minutes later, Gerry wrote, "They must have heard me sighing! Not only did a hummingbird show up as if on cue, it was my first ever Rufous Hummingbird!"

October 17, 2002, Gardening pays off: Rufie dropped by again today. I'll bet she partakes of the red salvias blooming now in my butterfly and hummingbird garden on the other side of the house. I started that garden a few years ago with a packet of mixed seeds favored by the little lovelies, with the intention that it should be more or less wild and re-seed itself. It was an experiment, but although it looks a mess, I guess it's pretty successful. I managed to weed it about a month ago, removing plants that had done their thing, and making room for the scraggly salvias. They rebounded nicely and are the only thing blooming there now, but quite profusely."

October 19, 2002, Black ants and speedy birds: "Little Rufie was back at the feeder this morning, and I noticed that the feeder had become infested with those big black ants again. Dang! So I took the window-mounted feeder down and put up the one that hangs from a tree. The ants will find that one in a few days, and I'll pull the switch again. It worked last time!

"Anyway, while Rufie was trying to feed I noticed how robust and plump she looked, and when she flew off it seemed she was exceptionally fast. That made me curious, so I went to the Internet and found this answer:

Often described as "feisty," the Rufous may have the ideal size-to-weight ratio among North American hummingbirds. This bird outflies all other species, and usually gets its way at feeders at the expense of slower, less-maneuverable hummers. The Rufous has the longest migration route of all US hummingbirds.

"So, it wasn't just my imagination. It surprises me that one can discern speed differences in comparing two critters (Ruby-throats and Rufous) that are already so fast!"

October 23, 2002, Now you see her, now you don't: "Rufie was just here. She sure is pretty! I didn't see her yesterday, and thought maybe she had moved on. There hasn't been a single Ruby-throat in weeks."

October 28, 2002, Farewell? "I guess Rufie has moved on. Haven't seen her since the 23rd. Hope she headed south. I caught the tail-end of some weather report forecasting a rough winter, so hopefully she'll find some warmer clime. It sure was a treat while she was here though!"

Will Rufie return? See

Try This: Invite Hummingbirds to Your Yard!
Do hummingbirds visit your yard during migration? How could you make it more inviting to them? Learn how to provide food and shelter to encourage them to visit you!