Monday, July 31, 2006

Hummingbird madness

We have a hummingbird feeder hanging outside our kitchen window. The tiny birds perch in an evergreen tree across the yard and zip in and out whenever they need food, which seems to be about once a minute at times. That feeder is frequently busy. There is one very large male hummingbird who acts like he owns our yard. Let's call him Carlos.

Carlos dominates the situation at our feeder. He seems to have no problem allowing all the lady hummingbirds to eat, but he won't allow any other males around. He is extremely aggressive and carefully watches the feeder traffic from his tree perch. If another male bird even gets near the feeder, Carlos swoops down with a buzz and the two boys fly back and forth bombing each other like miniature fighter jets. Carlos always prevails.

There is one especially cute and delicate lady, I will call her Emily. I accused John of somehow having trained her because last night our grandson Ian (age 2) was here and John wanted to show him the hummingbirds. John picked up Ian and held him near the window. I was thinking to myself, yeesh, what are the chances of a bird showing up while we are standing here. And wouldn't you know it Emily appeared out of nowhere, literally on John's command, and hovered over the feeder, dipping her long beak in and out for nectar or "juice" as Ian called it. She then perched and ate for awhile even though there were four faces peering out the window at her. Ian got so excited seeing the birds up close; he especially loved it when they would speed away fast. He would yell out, "hummybird fly, Papa!!"

Tonight I saw a new little male who I have named Fred. He looks as though he isn't getting enough to eat, probably because Carlos keeps running him off. The red feathers around his neck are drab and he is ruffled around the edges as though he's frazzled. He has a very absent minded look for a hummingbird with a tuft of hair sprouting from the top of his head. He is one scrappy bird, actually skinny and smaller than the females. I feel so badly for him and somehow want to give him the opportunity to feed as long as he likes without being beat up by bully Carlos. Obviously I can't run interference at the feeder, but it just bums me out that poor little Fred isn't getting enough to eat.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:58 AM

    I love that your resident hummingbirds have names!


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