Friday, January 21, 2011

Mapping Hummingbird Territory

Before I can gather new biodiversity data, I have to format my data collection and tabulation. That means creating a species data base, determining the data to be collected and finalizing the areas where data will be collected. I've already updated my Zone Map.

But this time around I've decided to map out the territories of my resident hummingbirds. I plan to update these territory maps monthly. As we start off this January, one of the males, FIK, has expanded his territory.  I have a special connection to FIK a male Allen's hummingbird. He was hatched in 2008 in the same plum tree that is the center of his territory. When he was a chick, a predator attacked the nest. His sibling did not survive, but FIK fell 20 ft. to semi-safety in the foliage below the tree. My dog, Inali, found him and with a little bit of ingenuity, she and I saved this tiny fellow. The whole story.

In 2009, FIK bred with a number of females and we had over a dozen chicks. Only one of the females in the yard, DR, has been here as long as FIK. 
Last year FIK was the dominant male and he spent so much energy breeding, by the end of summer 2010, he was spent. His son, BIF (blue), almost pushed him out of his territory.

Now with the warm weather, the male Allen's hummingbirds are beginning to perform their breeding displays for the females. FIK is back up to fighting strength and he has reclaimed his former territory. His territory (green) is once again the largest. At the front of the house, he has the greatest visibility to visiting females.

DR is the oldest female and she has the largest territory of the girls (red), however, she does not have the prime territory. There is no feeder in her territory. However, she does have nectar-bearing and insect-attracting plants, and two native Catalina cherry trees where she has nested successfully for two years. 2010 nest.

A daughter of the long dominant "A" family of females, A-Spot, holds the prime female location with a feeder (orange). A young female, F, who's first attempts at nesting failed last year, maintains a small territory (yellow).

With three adult male Allen's hummingbirds, all in their prime, we could be in for territory challenges. Canyon (purple) also a chick from 2009 and probably a son of FIK, maintains a small territory at the back of the yard. And there is a newcomer, an immature Anna's male that has established his territory at the back of the yard (lime) next to Canyon.

More males, most likely will mean fewer females will nest here. But there is a large area of hillside territory with nesting locations that is unclaimed. Will a new female move in? It should be a fascinating spring.

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