The Milkweed And The Hummingbird

A ruby-throated hummingbird at the milkweed flowers in Jester Park, Iowa, June 18, 2017.

I wish to place a message on the Monarch butterfly telegraph.

Plentiful milkweed can be found in the gardens, the fields, and the untended spaces around ponds and along roads. Many late spring and early summer flowers are blooming. Please spread the word. Thank you.

During the second week in June, the milkweed flowers began to open. Now, most of the milkweed plants have flowers and the early blooms are fading. The buds start out green, gradually turn a purplish red, and then they open to reveal a pink and red flower with an intricate center pattern. The purple in the red stands out in the early morning sunshine.

I haven’t seen a Monarch butterfly yet this year. I have seen a ruby-throated hummingbird making his rounds of the flowers. I’ve felt his wings stir the air as he breezed by me more than once. I wasn’t quick enough to find him with the camera before he darted away until last Tuesday at sunrise when aΒ tiny bird flew across the road. He stopped on the top of the fence partly hidden in the shadow of the trees. It was a ruffled ruby-throated hummingbird looking like he had just finished his morning bath.

Much to my surprise, one paused to taste the nectar of a milkweed flower right in front of me on Sunday morning.

June 9, 2017

Milkweed flower buds in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, June 9, 2017.

Milkweed flower buds in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, June 9, 2017.

June 13, 2017

A ruby-throated hummingbird on the fence around The Bison And Elk Enclosure in Jester Park, Iowa, June 13, 2018.

June 18, 2017

Milkweed plants, buds, and flowers in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, June 18, 2017.

Milkweed buds and flowers in the garden in Jester Park, Iowa, June 18, 2017.

A ruby-throated hummingbird at the milkweed flowers in Jester Park, Iowa, June 18, 2017.

Take care and thanks for reading.



About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and story teller
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15 Responses to The Milkweed And The Hummingbird

  1. zirah1 says:

    Great pics, especially the first one. And I will pass the word along about the milkweed, if I happen across any monarchs. πŸ™‚

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah πŸ™‚

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you liked the photos. πŸ™‚ I was really surprised when the hummingbird flew into view just as I was approaching a group of milkweed flowers. They don’t stay in one place very long. One flower here. Another flower over there. Now, where did he go? I can’t keep up. πŸ™‚

      Please do let any monarch butterflies you see know there are lots of milkweed plants to choose from here. πŸ™‚ I see them when I walk around the block in the morning and on the sides of the roads I travel as well as in the parks. I am keeping a lookout for the butterflies. So far, I have only seen one butterfly and it was a kind I don’t know off hand. It flew away too quickly for a photo so I have to wait until I see it again to try and identify. I am a beginner when it comes to identifying butterflies.

      • zirah1 says:

        Hmmm, interesting. We have quite a few different kinds/species of butterflies around here. Usually see a number of different ones out on my walks or even when I’m looking out the window to the back yard. Wonder if there just aren’t a lot “native” to your area? Is it unusual for you to not see any lately?

        • Sarah says:

          I don’t generally see a lot of butterflies until later in the summer. And then, in the month of September, the monarchs come through in bunches on their way south. I am not sure why this is. I see a lot of birds on my morning walks around the block. I am paying particular attention this year to see what butterflies are around. There are many flowers blooming in the garden by the bison and the elk enclosure. I am going to be spending time photographing them and hopefully I will see more butterflies. I have been seeing bees.

  2. Shady_Grady says:

    Nice pics. That close up of the milkweed flower almost looks predatory πŸ™‚

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady πŸ™‚
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you liked the pictures. πŸ™‚ It is funny what people see when they look at something. πŸ™‚ What I saw was the pattern of 5 of everything including the indent in the middle. To me, it looks both precise and beautiful. πŸ™‚

  3. Very interesting info on what Monarchs need. Real monarchs not the Human ones!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi πŸ™‚
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! That’s funny! I am looking for the butterfly kind of Monarch. πŸ™‚ I am hoping to see the butterflies and the caterpillars. I don’t remember seeing the caterpillars. I am hoping a monarch or two will chose one of the milkweed plants in the garden or along the road so I can watch.

      • We saw a giant ugly caterpillar not long ago and T said it was a hummingbird hawkmoth caterpillar. I have got some poor shots of one of those on some flowers and it is amazing how large they are for a moth and they hover with a proboscis and look like a hummingbird! We don’t have any hummingbirds but we do have beeeaters!

        • Sarah says:

          It sounds like a big moth and interesting to watch. I looked up photos of the bee eaters. They are beautiful birds! I am hoping I will see the hummingbird from the front with the camera. They are hectic birds so it will take a lot of luck. It is pretty amazing to me how they manage to hover in the air just in the right spot to find the nectar in the flowers.

          • This new 4K and post focus might help capture a hummingbird. Pity I was only borrowing the camera though and will set me back a bit new!

            • Sarah says:

              The flower photos you took with the camera were really pretty. I was going to look up the camera because I haven’t heard of it. Taking photos can be addictive! πŸ™‚

  4. Love watching our hummingbirds! Great photo’s!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Diane πŸ™‚
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! Hummingbirds are really fun to watch. πŸ™‚ I have seen them more often than been able to photograph them since they are so fast. I saw one when I was watching the butterflies a week ago. It was amazing to watch her suspended in the air with wings a blur while she ate the nectar from the same flowers as the butterflies. Then, she zoomed off before I could collect myself and try a photo. πŸ™‚ They migrate away in the winter, but I still hope to see them again before they do.

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