male hummingbirds: big pricks, little birds

i would like to set the record straight, once and for all:  i am not a birder.  in fact, i couldn’t tell the difference between a mourning warbler and nashville warbler if my life depended on it, save for the dark patch on the male mourning warbler’s upper sternum and its ground-level hopping in boreal forest wetland patches.

what i do know is that male hummingbirds are pricks. 

no i.d. necessary. it’s all about behavior, baby.

the first hummer arrived at my house on friday.  in response, i hurriedly boiled some water and sugar and let cool, while cleaning and sterilizing the feeders.  i thought about a plate of cocktail wieners, but opted for pure sugar-water, knowing how it’s provided so much energy (and several root canals)  for me over the years. 

the first hummer was a male ruby-throat  and once the “nectar” appeared, he has taken it upon himself to defend the prize with dizzying u-shaped flights of disdain.  i thought disdain only applied to my take on tourists, but this guy has even my disdain beat by several kilometers. 

one would think that a female hummer, sauntering up for a bit of energy, would be welcomed by the male in search of a little tryst, but that is not the case.  instead, he chases her away because she (conceivably) could down the whole quart of sugar-water and where would that leave him? 

with nothing but an empty feeder to defend.

a couple of summers ago, i had 14 hummers jousting over 2 feeders.  it was my summer of hummers.  it was dangereous to step out on the deck, for fear of being impaled by a hummer beak.  nikky thought i was a big pussy but to me, a hummer beak is no different than a shank in prison. ..sooner or later, you are going to feel its sting.

the first male is still hanging out and you can tell he is full of himself…sitting in the ash, preening and rousing his feathers, feeding on a whim, then it’s back to his “i’m so important” preening.  occassionally, he shits on my deck.

when a new hummer moves through and sees the feeder, he no doubt says to himself  “this is the weirdest fucking flower i’ve ever seen, but dammit, it’s full of nectar.”  whereupon, the resident hummer takes umbrage to the new arrival, flies after him, then throws in a couple of territorial flights to tell him “that’s what i’m talking about, bitch.”

i guess i’ll just have to get more feeders.  of course, i could take the one down, but then my back yard entertainment value is reduced by about 90%.  so yes, there will be “nectar a-plenty,”  my hummer friends. 

you little pricks.


About borealbilly

i am cursed by nocturnal self-awareness. View all posts by borealbilly

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