Hummingbird Garden Sits

Available year-round by appointment

About the Hummingbird Garden Sits.

The Garden

Relax with comfortable seating with either a western or eastern view (depending upon the time of day) in Adirondack chairs or cushioned patio furniture.  A well-visited birdbath with a fountain attracts many species to drink or rinse. Many areas of the garden have shade, but it is still recommended that you protect yourself from the tropical sun.

The best times for garden sits are either early morning (generally 7:00 AM through 9:30 AM) or in the later afternoon (generally 3:30 through 5:30 PM).

The garden for the Bonaire Garden Sits.

Hummingbirds visit the garden from sunrise through sunset, but the early morning or later afternoon hours provide the best opportunities for viewing both species of hummingbirds as well as other Bonaire garden birds.

Using local flowers to attract hummingbirds.

The garden is filled with a variety of natural vegetation with flowers and which attracts both of Bonaire’s hummingbirds.  The garden provides a plethora of opportunities for the hummingbirds, as well as other garden birds, to continue with their normal feeding and diet, not interrupting their behaviors by humans providing food. This also allows for more natural images, should you choose to photograph during the garden sit.

Bonaire’s Hummingbird Species

The Blue-tailed Emerald Hummingbird

The Blue-tailed Emerald is Bonaire’s smaller hummingbird and is often found in conjunction with the Ruby-Topaz in many flowering gardens on the island.  

This hummingbird is 7.5 cm (3 inches) long and weighs 2.6 g (.09 ounces). The black bill is relatively short and straight. The male has a brilliant green plumage, with white thighs and a dark metallic blue tail. The female is generally smaller than the male and also differs as it has grey-white underparts, a blackish ear patch, a short white supercilium/post-ocular streak, and white-tipped outer tail feathers.

The song is a pleasant twittering, and the call of this species is a pebbly tsip.

Blue-tailed Emerald Hummingbird

Blue-tailed Emerald

(Chlorostilbon mellisugus)

Diet:  Nectar and insects

Breeding: Lays 2 eggs

Status:  Least Concern

The Ruby-topaz Hummingbird

The Ruby-topaz Hummingbird is the larger of Bonaire’s two hummingbirds, and it can be found in many Bonaire gardens or other areas where there are flowers where it feeds on nectar.  It will also eat small insects.  The male Ruby-topaz will perch conspicuously and defend its territory aggressively, often chasing off the smaller Blue-tailed Emerald Hummingbird. The call of this species is a high-pitched tsip.

The Ruby-topaz is 8.1 cm (3.19 inches) long and weighs 3.5 g (.12 ounces). Compared to most other hummingbirds, the almost straight, black bill is relatively short.

The male has green-glossed dark brown upperparts. The crown and nape are glossy red, and the throat and breast are brilliant golden-orange. The rest of the underparts are brown, and the chestnut tail is tipped black. The male often looks very dark, until he turns and the brilliant colors flash in the sunlight.

 

Ruby-topaz Hummingbird

Ruby-Topaz

(Chrysolampis mosquitus)

Diet:  Nectar and some small insects

Breeding: Lays 2 eggs

Status:  Least Concern

The female ruby-topaz hummingbird has bronze-green upperparts and pale grey underparts. The tail is chestnut with a dark subterminal band and a white tip. Juvenile females are similar to adult females, but with a white-tipped dusky-brown tail. Juvenile males resemble the juvenile female, but with a variable amount of iridescent orange to the throat.

Other birds you may expect to see.

Other species visit the garden as well.  It is common to see Tropical Mockingbirds, Pearly-eyed Thrashers (Bonaire has an isolated population), Yellow-shouldered Parrots, Brown-throated Parakeets, Bananaquits, Bare-eyed Pigeons, Eared Doves, Common Ground Doves, and Carib Grackles.

Occasionally, Yellow Warblers, Saffron Finches, White-tipped Doves, Scaley-naped Pigeons, Venezuelan Troupials, or Yellow Orioles make an appearance.

Riding thermals high in the sky one may find, depending upon the season, Ospreys, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Crested Caracaras, and Laughing Gulls.

A Bare-eyed Pigeon visits the garden's bird bath.
Pearly-eyed Thrasher

What to bring for your Garden Sit:

Bonaire’s tropical sun may be overly bright for many.  Although the garden does have shade, if you are susceptible to sunburn, then consider bringing a big floppy hat to shade your face and the back of your neck. Sunglasses may also assist with glare from the sun.

To avoid sunburn, a light‐weight long‐sleeve shirt, such as a rash guard, is recommended. If you have uncovered skin, do be sure to wear a reef‐safe sunscreen.

A wide-brimmed hat will help keep the sun off your face and neck.

In most cases, annoying insects (mosquitoes, gnats, or no‐see‐ums) are not a problem. However, on days of light wind, they can become a nuisance. Bug spray will be available, but if you have a favorite brand, do pack it. If you are visiting during the light‐wind months of September and October, it is also recommended to pack a bandana, which can be placed over the nose and mouth if the insects are overly annoying.

If you plan on photographing, please bring your longest lens capability. All types of cameras, even smartphones, can be used on the garden sits, but being able to zoom in will definitely enhance your images.  A camera which has fast focusing capabilities will definitely be of use when photographing hummingbirds.

Each Garden Sit includes:

  • Each participant is provided with an environmentally friendly (non-plastic) water bottle, filled with iced tap water.
  • Vortex Diamondback HD 8×42 Binoculars are available for each participant’s use.
  • Field guides are available for use.  If you wish to make notes, feel free to bring your own.
  • Government sales/service tax.

Please note:  Transportation is not included in Garden Sits.  Upon confirmation of your reservation, you will be provided with the location address and a map.  The garden is five minutes north of the center of Kralendijk.

Pricing:

Hummingbird Garden Sits One-hour Garden Sit
One or two persons $ 50.00
Each additional person (up to a total of four persons) $ 25.00

The maximum is four persons per garden sit so that our presence does not scare the birds away.  Generally, we need to sit quietly for about ten minutes, and then the birds will begin to visit the garden.

Please note that the garden sits are conducted in English.

Also, the months of December through April are the busiest months of the year with many visitors arriving.  If you are visiting during those months, and wish to enjoy a garden sit, it is recommended that you make your reservation as far in advance as possible, to avoid disappointment.

 

Get In Touch

Get in touch with Susan to check availability for the dates you are visiting Bonaire.

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