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PMS Run Amock or The Hummingbird From Hell!!
05 Sep 03 | Bert

Posted on 09/05/2003 6:39:34 AM PDT by bert

EAST TENNESSEE……. September 5, 2003   It is a given, “ A man’s 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.  

 

  


TOPICS: Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: hummingbirds; pmssyndrome; propertyownership; propertyrights
I guess everyone is allowed a vanity...... this is mine
1 posted on 09/05/2003 6:39:34 AM PDT by bert
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To: bert
I enjoyed it. Kinda debunks the leftists' claim that conservatives want to destroy the enviroment.
2 posted on 09/05/2003 6:58:17 AM PDT by zygoat
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To: bert
Nice story. I also have a lot of chipmunks in my yard (probably from the sunflower seeds I have in my birdfeeder). However, there is one less as of yesterday; Mrs. BC tells me that our Springer Spaniel dispatched one of them yesterday to Chipmunk Heaven.
3 posted on 09/05/2003 7:13:16 AM PDT by Born Conservative
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To: bert
Our summer hummingbirds( a dozen+) left two weeks ago for points south - I miss them already!
4 posted on 09/05/2003 7:14:34 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: bert
We have a hummingbird feeder in our back yard, and last week we had at least five or six hummingbirds feeding at it until one hyperagressive male decided that it was HIS feeder. Vicious little monster, he kept up a running fight for four days, attacking anything and everything that came within five feet of that feeder. I never realized that hummingbirds could be so violent.
5 posted on 09/05/2003 7:16:28 AM PDT by egarvue (Martin Sheen is not my president...)
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To: bert
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.

Ours are Anna’s hummingbirds. We have a feeder in front of the house and one in the back. If you look around you’ll notice that they’ll be staked out somewhere in view of the feeder. They can be quite a ways off, but they’ll be watching it.

Just before the sun goes down we’ll 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.

They’re also pretty sneaky. Hummingbird A will land at the feeder. Directly hummingbird B will swoop in and chase him off. That’s when hummingbird C pops up and eats uninterrupted for a minute or so.

They’re sort of fun to watch. Ours stay here year round.

7 posted on 09/05/2003 7:20:10 AM PDT by Who dat?
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To: bert
Nice vanity.

I've noticed the same behavoir in the hummingbirds that inhabit my yard.

8 posted on 09/05/2003 7:20:15 AM PDT by Vigilantcitizen (Herman Cain for Senator.)
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To: headsonpikes
I miss our hummingbirds too. They left two weeks ago (from SC). We had approx. 15 hummingbirdsflying about two feeders all at once, dive bombing and providing infinite enjoyment and entertainment.
9 posted on 09/05/2003 7:21:49 AM PDT by Peach (The Clintons have pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: Peach
"I miss our hummingbirds too. They left two weeks ago (from SC). We had approx. 15 hummingbirdsflying about two feeders all at once, dive bombing and providing infinite enjoyment and entertainment."

Mine are still around, and I don't live that far from you here in west Georgia.

10 posted on 09/05/2003 7:24:02 AM PDT by Vigilantcitizen (Herman Cain for Senator.)
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To: egarvue
Vicious little monster....

Amazing isn't it. So very small and so very bad.

11 posted on 09/05/2003 7:26:18 AM PDT by bert (Don't Panic!)
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To: bert
Have any of you folks ever seen a hummingbird marked like a bumblebee?
Several weeks ago the little woman and I stepped outside our front door on a Saturday and there, hovering around the snapdragons and the butterfly bush, was a hummingbird about half the size of my thump marked almost exactly like a bumblebee.
I had never seen, or heard, of one like it.

No, it wasn't a bumble bee, it was a hummingbird. I've had three vodka sours two weeks ago.

12 posted on 09/05/2003 7:30:37 AM PDT by Just another Joe (FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: Just another Joe
Can't tell for certain, but it might be a moth. There is a large moth, smaller than the hummingbird but when hovering at a flower closely resembles one.
13 posted on 09/05/2003 7:34:30 AM PDT by bert (Don't Panic!)
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To: bert
read later
14 posted on 09/05/2003 7:36:18 AM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: bert
Can't tell for certain, but it might be a moth.

No, we were within three feet of this little winged wonder. It was a hummingbird.

15 posted on 09/05/2003 7:38:58 AM PDT by Just another Joe (FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: Just another Joe
We saw the same here (Oregon)....WAY smaller. Hubs thought it might be a 'baby hummingbird' whose coloring would change as it grew.
16 posted on 09/05/2003 7:39:09 AM PDT by justshe ("Do you trust a Democrat to protect America?")
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To: justshe
Hubs thought it might be a 'baby hummingbird' whose coloring would change as it grew.

Never thought about that. It could be.
Protective coloring for the young?

17 posted on 09/05/2003 7:40:20 AM PDT by Just another Joe (FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: A Citizen Reporter; ABG(anybody but Gore); Angelwood; arazitjh; b4its2late; backhoe; bamafour; ...
ping
Thought you all would enjoy this especially DJ
18 posted on 09/05/2003 7:54:07 AM PDT by CONSERVE
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To: CONSERVE
Oh wow! Thanks for the ping Conserve. I have sap suckers, wrens, chicadees,Titmouse, Cardnials and hummingbirds out here too. My birdies all seem to get along just fine. Our stray kitty, Katie lives on our patio where the bird feeders are. (The bird feeders were there long before Katie came to live with us). Every once in a while Katie will mess with the bird, but all is peaceful at the Teacup home, LOL.
19 posted on 09/05/2003 8:05:52 AM PDT by Teacup (Have you hugged your doggies today?)
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To: Just another Joe
The smallest hummingbird is the bee hummingbird of Cuba, 2 1/4 inches, including the tail and beak. The male has a red hed, green back and light colored breast.

There is a hummingbird moth -- it greatly resembles a hummingbird in it's flight and hovering ability. But it is a moth.

The solution to feeder competition is to hang lots of feeders. We have 6 on the front porch, placed between the columns, and have twenty or so birds at a time. Sometimes we hang the feeders on different sides of the house, so that if there's a bully he/she has more trouble guarding all the feeders.
20 posted on 09/05/2003 8:12:41 AM PDT by Tuscaloosa Goldfinch
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To: Tuscaloosa Goldfinch
.....The solution to feeder competition is to hang lots of feeders.....

That's for next season. I'm wondering if the same Hummers return to the same spaces?

21 posted on 09/05/2003 8:38:01 AM PDT by bert (Don't Panic!)
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To: bert
I'm wondering if the same Hummers return to the same spaces?

Just like most migrating birds, a lot of them do.

22 posted on 09/05/2003 8:43:23 AM PDT by Just another Joe (FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: bert; Just another Joe
bert, nice post. I really enjoy watching the backyard microecosystems that happen in North America and you have really captured it. Thanks you.

Just another Joe, this bumblebee hummingbird, is it just a hair bigger than a true bumblebee? I've seen those. At first I thought it was some sort of bug, but I couldn't find it in any of the bug books I looked in and the tail was driving me nuts. Then I saw it again and realized it was a hummingbird! They move really fast, but I'd like to get a good look at one someday.
23 posted on 09/05/2003 8:46:12 AM PDT by LionsDaughter (ONE! two three, four, and FLANK! two, three, four, and FLANK! two...)
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To: bert
I love it, bert!

You've taken the time to really know your kingdom!! ;-)

24 posted on 09/05/2003 8:51:13 AM PDT by Scenic Sounds ("Don't mind people grinnin' in your face." - Son House)
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To: bert
I don't know. I think that's a real possibility, though, they birds seem to know where to look for the feeders when they come back.

There's nothing like that first hummer of the season, though, you're out in the garden, and suddenly you get 'buzzed', and you run inside and start boiling water. LOL!

25 posted on 09/05/2003 8:59:44 AM PDT by Tuscaloosa Goldfinch
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To: bert
You haven't seen hummer wars until you've seen the Rufous hummingbird. They're small and once they arrive they stake out the feeders and drive away all the Black Chinned, Broadtails, and Calliope's we have here in the NM mountains.

We've had as many as 30 hummers competing for two feeders, but you can walk in amongst them and they don't crash into you. Frequently, you can get them to land on your hand.

Local record is a guy in the Jemez mountains that goes through 20 pounds of sugar a day prior to migration.

A local author wrote, "If rufous were as big as hawks, people couldn't go outside".

26 posted on 09/05/2003 9:06:52 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: bert; DJ88
Deej - I KNOW you would like this - - given your propensity to be attacked by the little Hummers.........
27 posted on 09/05/2003 9:14:18 AM PDT by duckbutt (God Bless America.......Again!)
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To: bert
I'm wondering if the same Hummers return to the same spaces?

Yes, they will come back to the same feeder location, year after year -- even when the feeder is gone.

I live in Colorado, and we have bears that frequent our neighborhood. This means that we have to bring the hummingbird feeders in at night, or the bears will pull them down.

I'm up at dawn during the week, and I hang the feeder as I go out to get the paper. On the weekends, I don't get up quite that early, and the hummingbirds are very annoyed by the time I get around to delivering their breakfast. Often, there are a half dozen of them flying back and forth through the empty space where the feeder would hang.

This year, we only have a single feeder. In prior years, we've had as many as four hanging under a second-story deck (the deck is being replaced this year, so the hummingbirds are having to make do with less). In the last week of August and the first two weeks of September, the PMS crowd would number 60 to 80 birds in the morning (very difficult to count those little suckers!), and they could empty all four feeders by noon.

All summer, we've seen hummingbirds fly to the spots where those four feeders hung last year and hover, looking around for their rightful offerings in vain, then speeding off. The odd thing is not only is the feeder missing, but the deck isn't there either!

28 posted on 09/05/2003 9:18:17 AM PDT by forsnax5
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To: forsnax5
Funny, ours don't come back every year, it is actually hit or miss. Since we live in a neighborhood, they may just be finding another feeder some years.
29 posted on 09/05/2003 9:24:41 AM PDT by hopespringseternal
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To: bert
So very small and so very bad.

I always knew there was something I liked about hummingbirds

30 posted on 09/05/2003 9:49:21 AM PDT by MaeWest
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To: hopespringseternal
Funny, ours don't come back every year, it is actually hit or miss.

We have rather large numbers, so the only way we can tell that we have returnees is by their seeking the feeders at last year's locations.

If you have few or none returning, perhaps the ones you saw the prior year didn't survive the migration.

:(

31 posted on 09/05/2003 10:26:31 AM PDT by forsnax5
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To: bert
All I can do is hope she has a peasant trip to Florida.

She'll be going coach, I take it.

32 posted on 09/05/2003 11:52:02 AM PDT by Old Professer
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To: Old Professer
You just can't slip things by. They'll get you every time.
33 posted on 09/05/2003 12:02:19 PM PDT by bert (Don't Panic!)
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To: bert
My PMS hummer actually drove off a amall nuthatch which was flying 3 ft near the feeder. Talk about agressive.
34 posted on 09/05/2003 11:45:24 PM PDT by Podkayne
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To: bert
I live on 26 secluded acres in the redwoods and we have hundreds of hummers and thousands of the little "house wrens", as they are called here. They provide year-round entertainment here, as there is no need for them to migrate. I fully understand your enjoyment of these creatures. Of course, then there's the peacocks and the wild turkeys. Now THAT'S "wild life!"

Happy weekend to you.
35 posted on 09/06/2003 7:30:50 AM PDT by EggsAckley
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To: LionsDaughter
Just another Joe, this bumblebee hummingbird, is it just a hair bigger than a true bumblebee?

Not bigger by a whole lot. We were standing on our front porch and this little guy was about three feet away for about 15 or 20 seconds. I thought when I first saw it that it was the biggest bumblebee I had ever seen. The he stopped at a flower and I saw the beek. Knew it was a hummingbird but I had just never seen one marked like that.

36 posted on 09/07/2003 8:23:33 PM PDT by Just another Joe (FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: Just another Joe
Yes! Those are the ones! The first time I spotted one was about three years ago, but it wasn't around long and I didn't get a good look. The last time I saw one was earlier this summer, out in my backyard. It was just flying around, but I actually got to watch for a few moments. Those hummers are so cool, but I've only seen one the two times.
37 posted on 09/07/2003 8:53:02 PM PDT by LionsDaughter
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