Watercolor Ruby-throated Hummingbird Sally Wickham © 2011
Nobody but nobody messes with the male Ruby-throated Hummingbird. This tiny one-tenth of an ounce package of feathers is a giant among backyard birds. He thinks nothing of chasing away Crows and Red-tailed Hawks when other bigger birds are left cowering in the trees. Squirrels and cats that get too close had also better beware. How is this possible you may ask? I wondered the same thing and even wondered why I moved my hummingbird feeders off the porch and onto a pergola a little bit farther away.
The answer to my question is that any bird moving at sixty miles an hour with a lance-like bill is going to do some damage if he hits you. He is a needle shooting through the air! It’s possible that he is not ruby-throated at all but blood stained.
Furthermore, the noise that his wings make is sometimes quite frightful. One buzzed close by my head today and there was even a slight whine to the wing noise that sounded like a passenger jet when it lands. Other birds have no doubt noticed the same thing and are aware that the Ruby-throat means business.
Hummingbirds have been reported to the bird police for stalking and unprovoked threatening behavior towards other birds. Okay, I made this up, but I have read accounts where hummers will chase other birds just for fun. I suppose when you are such a fast and accomplished flyer--able to fly forward, reverse, up and down , stop on a dime and hover in mid-air, every once in a while you want to put the pedal to the metal.
As for me, I did not think that I would look good with a hummingbird stuck in my plump rosy cheek so I moved the feeders away from my observation station on the porch. And believe me, I am keeping those feeders very clean, very full and very sweet because I do not want to make this little guy angry.
Birdwords by Linda Lunna © 2011