Of a Feather: Watch a Hummingbird Flock Together With Our Bird of Paradise Plant

Photos and video by Ryan Benoit

Horticulties, please forgive the light posting this week — we have been busy bees getting ready for our big reveal at the WestEdge Design Fair happening this Saturday afternoon. (You’re coming, right?!)

Thankfully the design grind hasn’t prevented us from noticing that the bird of paradise plant is back in bloom. The “official flower” of the city of Los Angeles — it’s flashy and ubiquitous, kind of like a starletStrelitzia reginae spends its off-season as tall, tasteful clumps of long-stalked leaves that are used heavily in Southern California’s public and residential landscaping. They’re drought tolerant and hardy down to 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blossoms emerge intermittently throughout the year, forming neon inflorescences that resemble tropical birds. Inside our own yard, our S. reginae started squawking this week, and the hummingbirds have already caught on. The birds go straight for the flower’s arrow-shaped purple petals that form its nectary.

Isn’t it magical the way these two fluorescent flutterers can connect across the Plantae-Animalia divide?

Last spring, right before we pruned our S. reginae, we set up a camera to capture a hummingbird sipping eagerly from the plant. We believe it’s an Anna’s hummingbird, but would love confirmation on this. In any case, the footage, played both forward and backward below, makes us indescribably happy.

Plus, Ryan plays his best Sir David Attenborough — with a pinch of 8th grade health class — in the intro. Hit play for the colorful results! —TH