Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bully Boy!!!!!

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

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