BASICS: "Hummingbirds.....where is the person, I ask, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and turn his mind with reverence..." (J. J. Audubon).
This is a blog about my summer life at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, at my winter garden, Calypso, in the Bahamas, and aspects of life in general.
This private sanctuary is now permanently closed to the general public, as a result of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. Only my friends and personal guests may visit (

Friday, August 26, 2011

Open Today 9.30-12.30 and 3-sunset; ruby throats

We will be open today from 9.30 to 12.30 then 3 to sunset. See for directions and info. Please do not bring food or drink if you come for sunset: let's keep it minimal. Depending on the storm, we might also open tomorrow, though only to those who have not yet visited this season.

The picture was taken yesterday by Melissa Hahn. It shows an adult male with a full ruby gorget, and the characteristic forked tale. I do not know whether this is the adult male who dominated the sanctuary throughout the summer, or a recent, transient, arrival from the north. However, the adult males are always the first to leave: once the females are no longer receptive there is no point in sticking around, since he plays no direct role in child-rearing.
The only hummingbird species that breeds east of the Mississippi is the ruby-throat (Archilocus colubris). Of course only the adult male has the full ruby throat. Many people believe that they get more females than males, because they mistake the young males for females (they have a white band on the tail, which is not forked, and only a trace of throat color). However, there are equal numbers of males and females. Sir Ronald Fisher, the famous founder of population genetics (and, largely, statistics) showed long ago that if sex is genetically controlled, genes producing equal male/female numbers will always get preferentially selected. A beautiful example of how science explains what everyone already thought they knew, but didn't really.

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