Skip to comments.PMS Run Amock or The Hummingbird From Hell!!
Posted on 09/05/2003 6:39:34 AM PDT by bert
EAST TENNESSEE . September 5, 2003 It is a given, A mans house is his Castle . You own the property, have a deed and can pretty much decide what happens within the boundaries. Some may argue that the deed is only a permit from the government to whom you pay rent in the form of taxes. But the truth is, there are others who think they own your property and expend lots of time and energy defending it from the aggression.
I have a fairly typical house on a typical suburban lot. It is occupied by myself and my wife. There are relics here and there of a child who moved to his own place years ago. There are several creatures who have settled in on the lot and consider major portions to be theirs.
The most aggressive and the reason for this essay is a female Ruby Throated Hummingbird. I put up a feeder outside my glass walled office and began to observe the frequent presence of visitors who slip their long beaks into the feeder orifice to extract the sugar water. Sometimes the visitors smack their lips and extend their amazingly long tongues. Sometimes the visits take seconds hovering on the wing and sometimes the visit lasts several minutes while the visitor leisurely feeds and rests and preens.
I also began to notice that multiple visitors were present and that before any serious feeding could occur, from out of nowhere, a determined dive bomber swept from the sky. The feeding attempt was disrupted, and two hummingbirds would depart with one in the lead and a second in close formation. The second was so close behind it seemed to be pricking the wingmate in the butt. Around and around they would soar. Across the drive and adjacent garage, curving in an upward arc, and then down and back. Finally it would be over.
I watched this action several times and began to wonder where the aggressor came from. Try as I would, I could not determine the source.
There are others who consider my castle home. There are several chipmunks that occupy carefully defined territories. Woe be unto the one who intrudes. There are wild Chip and Dale chases with much chirping as the encounter winds down. On occasion, a chipmunk well within its own domain will be run down and rolled over by one of the squirrels who consider the same area as their own. This seems to be sport rather than territorial dominance. The gray squirrel does it simply because he can.
But back to the main theme. Chipmunks love sunflower seeds. The one who occupies the territory under the hummingbird feeder always checks out the top of the wood pile for sunflower seeds. One morning as the chipmunk ventured across the drive towards the wood pile, from nowhere came the humming bird strafing the hapless chipmunk and forcing it to take refuge under the car.
I finally learned about the hummingbird s lair. She lives in the Leatherleaved Viburnam bush a mere 20 feet away from the feeder. Keep in mind the humming bird has a green back and is not bigger than your thumb. Her gray breast and white tipped tail feathers positively indicate her sex. She is very hard to see within the shrub and even when perched on a leafless branch is barely visible 20 feet away.
There are also Wrens who live in and around my house. They stay pretty close. They carefully probe all the logs in the wood pile and the spaces in between the logs. Occasionally they fly through the open patio doors into the office where they carefully inspect all the house plants and the computer, and the copy machine. Wrens are incredibly curious. Wrens are also small. Compared to the other birds in my domain, the wrens are the smallest.
That is until the Hummingbird from hell came to live with us all. It is becoming near the time for southerly migration for the Hummingbird. Her goal is to gain as much weight as she can and spend the least possible energy while doing so. She has a really bad case of PMS Pre Migration Syndrome.
The Leatherleaf bush is the acknowledged home of the Sapsucker who has been coming there for years, even decades. It bothers no one, quietly climbing up the branches and carefully perforating the bark with little holes. It allows the Chickadees and the Wrens to occupy the space.
No more. The tranquility of the Leatherleaf is gone. The tiny Humming bird let it be known that it is her bush. She hovers so close to the trespassers that their feathers are ruffled by the prop wash from her rapidly beating wings. The Chickadees and the Wrens have been vanquished by the Hummingbird. They are gone from the Leatherwood bush.
It is truly a wonder to watch the events related take place. The Hummingbird is amazingly small but with aggressive determination dominates the air and ground space outside my office. All I can do is hope she has a peasant trip to Florida.
Ours are Annas hummingbirds. We have a feeder in front of the house and one in the back. If you look around youll notice that theyll be staked out somewhere in view of the feeder. They can be quite a ways off, but theyll be watching it.
Just before the sun goes down well have up to nine hummingbirds at the feeder. Only four can perch and eat at one time, so the rest hover around until someone leaves.
Theyre also pretty sneaky. Hummingbird A will land at the feeder. Directly hummingbird B will swoop in and chase him off. Thats when hummingbird C pops up and eats uninterrupted for a minute or so.
Theyre sort of fun to watch. Ours stay here year round.
I've noticed the same behavoir in the hummingbirds that inhabit my yard.
Mine are still around, and I don't live that far from you here in west Georgia.
Amazing isn't it. So very small and so very bad.
No, it wasn't a bumble bee, it was a hummingbird. I've had three vodka sours two weeks ago.
No, we were within three feet of this little winged wonder. It was a hummingbird.
Never thought about that. It could be.
Protective coloring for the young?