Fw: Avian pollinators - Humming Birds

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sun, 03 Mar 2013 16:31:10 PST
I know only about the hummingbirds of western North America. Someone 
else will have to talk about the eastern ones and the eastern lilies.

I haven't noticed hummingbirds being particularly drawn to lilies, 
but since there are plenty of orange and reddish lilies around here, 
I suppose they are. From occasional observation I would guess the 
main pollinators of our lilies are bumblebees. Western American 
hummingbirds are migratory in the northern part of their range but at 
least one species will overwinter here in Portland, Oregon, 
especially if people put out feeders. At my former home in the 
Cascade foothills, I noted that the only usual species, the Rufous 
Hummingbird, arrived synchronously with the flowering of the native 
shrub Ribes sanguineum (flowering currant). As Paige mentioned, the 
only native plants offering nectar earlier may be mahonias (Berberis 
spp.). Our hummers seem to feed more on the flowers of shrubs than of 
low-growing plants, though in fall they will feed on penstemons and 
zauschneria (Epilobium spp.). Near the ground they are vulnerable to 
predators, especially domestic cats. Their favorite bulbs here are 
Fritillaria recurva and Dichelostemma ida-maia; I think they are the 
only pollinator of the latter. They also go crazy for Crocosmia and 
Kniphofia. Many South American plants have evolved for hummingbird 
pollination; they flock around the Eccremocarpus scaber (red form) 
that grows on my bulb house walls. Everyone enjoys them, especially 
in spring when they perform their aerial displays, but I wish people 
wouldn't put up so many feeders -- nectar and the small insects they 
get while feeding on flowers are much better for them, and when they 
congregate around feeders they can pass around diseases and also be 
caught by lurking cats.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

At 01:25 PM 3/3/2013, you wrote:

>It would be a great help if anyone on PBS could advise me on any of 
>the following please.
>(1) what the temperature regimen is, if known, that initiates 
>pollinating activity amongst the Nth. Am. Humming Bird species in 
>relation to the genus Lilium ?;
>(2) do all Humming Bird species function seasonally or selectively 
>as pollinators of native lilies or in conjungtion with other flowering plants?;
>(3) are there particular Humming Bird species which pollinate 
>lilies, or do they all do so?;
>(3) have any lily species been noted as preferentially visited, or 
>do they take what they need any old place ?;
>(5) are all, or any Humming Bird species migratory ?
>I apologise for my total dumb ignorance about your fascinating wee 
>birdies but I am working on the chapter on pollination + pollen 
>dispersal at present and
>have become painfully aware how little information is available on 
>this side of our beautiful Blue Planet.
>Sadly there are no Palaearctic Humming Bird species although we have 
>several remarkable day time / evening flying analogs, which are for example
>the Humming Bird Hawkmoths  -  in the genus Macroglossum 
>(Macroglossum stellatarum) and also the Narrowborder Bee Hawkmoth  - 
>in the genus
>Hemaris (Hemaris tityus).
>Many thanks + fingers crossed,   Iain
>pbs mailing list
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