This information may be totally irrelevant, but when we needed to watch a feeder for a Plain-capped Starthroat in Arizona, a self-proclaimed expert advised us that our chances were best early in the morning and late in the afternoon. His wisdom was that hummingbirds get protein from insects in flowers, and the Starthroat was probably visiting flowers and/or roosting somewhere in the shade during the day but would fuel up at the feeder at the beginning and end of each day.
We followed his advice and, sure enough, the Starthroat showed late in the afternoon.
If  the Arizona guy's hypothesis is correct, why are there so many Rubythroats around during the day? I once watched my feeder very closely for most of a day. I thought I had one male and one female using it. By the day's end, I had identified 10 separate individuals using the feeder -- two males (which chased each other) and 8 immatures and/or females, which I disdinguished from one another by subtle differences (e.g. one individual had a few tiny red gorget spots). The Rubytroats that are around during the day may represent a much larger number, some of whom are off pursuing insects during or resting the day.
If the Broad-tailed is still around, he may by now have worked out a route that still takes advantage of Bill Rowe's offering, but may also include other sources -- both flower and sugar water.
Are there any other feeders in  the neighborhood? How about Trumpet Creeper flowers?
Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Fall Meeting: Sept. 26-28, 2008 at Osage Beach, MO
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