Hummingbird is the only hummingbird commonly found in the eastern United States,
and is the only hummingbird commonly found in the eastern half of South
Dakota. They have only rarely been found breeding in South Dakota, but
given their presence throughout the summer, especially in the extreme eastern portion
of the state, they are likely consistent breeders in the state. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird migrates non-stop across the
Gulf of Mexico to its normal wintering grounds in Central America. A
male is pictured in the photo on the right, with its deep ruby-throat giving the species its name. Additional photos, including
those of a female, can be found at the bottom of the page
Habitat: Can be found in a wide variety of
semi-open habitats with suitable feeding locations
Diet: Feeds primarily on nectar from
flowers. Also will take a variety of small insects and spiders. They
occasionally have been found feeding on the sap wells created by the various
species of sapsuckers (see photo #7 at the bottom of the page).
Behavior: Other than during mating season,
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are often not very social. Although numbers
may be found in the same general area, individual birds will often
vigorously defend prime feeding patches. Extremely active during
daylight hours, their day primarily consists of feeding, with short periods
of rest in between.
Nesting: June through August. The nest of a
Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a small cup built of fibrous plant material and
plant down, cemented together with spider webs. The outside is often
covered with moss, lichen, or other material. The female lays 2 eggs, and
she alone incubates them. After the eggs hatch, the female alone feeds the
young. The young fledge after about 3 weeks.
Migration: Summers throughout the eastern half of
the U.S. and extreme southern Canada. Primarily winters in Mexico and
Feeders: Will attend feeders for sugar water. Will attend flower
gardens for nectar.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Ruby-throated Hummingbird"
Photo Information: June 10th, 2008 - Our house
in Brandon, South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Ruby-throated Hummingbird photos.