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 (

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Open Today wed am,pm. Rating Plants.

We are open today (wed) both am (9.30-12.30) and pm (3-5.30) BUT YOU MUST BRING WAIVERS, be able to walk well, and follow the Woodland Path starting near the parking lot at the yellow minibridge. If you cannot walk well, contact me.  Please, newbies only (NO REVISITS) and limit your stay to 1/2 hour. But if you park in the Town Sound Ave Preserve lot down on Sound Ave, and hike the half-mile up, you can stay till closing. We should be open the rest of the week but always check the blog before setting out. NO NEW WAIVERS ARE BEING ISSUED THIS YEAR (we close sept 1 for the season).

Over the years I have developed a rough rating system for hummingbird plants. This is based on several factors (1) how often I see hummers at one particular type of plant (2) how long the bird lingers at an individual flower or floret (which reflects the nectar content) (3) physical inspection of the nectar content of the flower (4) Most important, side-by-side comparison of the relative preference of a particular bird for the plants in a given patch of flowers, often in pots on a deck. None of these factors is   infallible - for example an inexperienced hummer will visit a much greater range of flowers than a more experienced bird, and I discount visits that seem to be mainly exploratory. My scale runs from 0 to 5 stars, with zero corresponding to no systematic visits (though occasional exploratory visits by young birds), to 5 stars, which I define as a clean freshly filled feeder (which is a bottomless well of nectar).
Here are some examples on this rough scale:

0 - roses, daylilies, mandevilla
1 - butterfly bush
2 - native columbine, bog sage, Fuchsia "Gartenmeister" (other fuchsias 0 or 1), trumpet vine
3 - Salvia greggi (autumn sage), coral honeysuckle, cardinal and cypress vine
4 - Salvias guaranitica and involucrata, cardinal flower, pink porter weed

I will add to this brief list in future posts. See also the information at

Today's image was taken recently by Mark Schaller. It's rather unusual: this is clearly a male with an incomplete set of red gorget feathers, either because it's an adult make who has already started molting (most likely) or a juvenile that has already developed an unusually large number of red feathers. We often see juvenile males with a few red feathers, that look like drops of blood. I'll post more about this when we are closed and I have more time.

Because of the evolving situation with the Town and 2 neighbors, I need some good legal advice. In the past, because of similar issues, and at considerable expense, I retained the services of the best local law firm and received much useful advice. However, in order to minimize further expense, it would be wonderful if one of my nice visitors might know of (or even be) a bird-friendly lawyer willing to help the sanctuary survive on a reduced or even pro bono basis. Please email me if you have suggestions!

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