Tuesday, August 7, 2007

hummingbird season

The Golden Snitch
quick note: I wanted to include a picture of "King Tut" (you will have to read the blog to understand what I mean), but S3 who took the picture on HIS camera is gone today to train for the new job he just got. So you will have to tune in later to get that picture posted.
Now. . . On with the blog.
Snitch on the left
double dipping

It is hummingbird season. Millions of,(well maybe 20 or 30) hummingbirds have suddenly showed up for the annual feeding frenzy before they head south on the long migration.
We have two humming bird feeders outside our kitchen window.
King TutThey hang side by side about 3 feet apart. Today, this little fat one has taken to sitting on top of the knot on the rope that holds the feeder. He just sits there, and because he doesn't use much energy, he doesn't even eat very often. He chases everyone away who wants to come get a drink from "his" feeder. He just sits above his Big Vat of sugar water, and once in a while takes a drink when he wishes.
The other feeder is surrounded with many feisty birds all fighting for the three measly holes. Once two had their tiny beaks together in one hole. They jockey for position and take turns on that one, and King Tut reigns over the other one. So when the public watering hole got dry, S3 went out and traded the two feeders. The full one was given to the public, and King Tut ruled over the dry one. It was funny to watch. When he chased a would-be competition away, and came back, he flew around the empty one as if to say, "What the heck?." But he returned to his Knot Throne and continued to reign.
We have been watching them so long that some have been given names. Besides King Tut, there is Red Feather, who has a HUGE red splotch on his throat, and Snitch. Snitch is golden with a black-like throat that changes color when he moves his head, suddenly it glows a bright orange. He is the only golden hummingbird we have ever seen. There is a female with a purple throat that we have named Princess, purple being a royal color, donchaknow?
King Tut sat on his knotted throne all day. He really looked fatter than the rest, and we reasoned it is because he didn't have to use any energy going back and forth from the trees. He just flared his tail and chattered at anyone who came near. Once in a while he would have to take someone out, but most of the time he remained on his perch.
The fighting stance for a hummingbird, we have learned, is to flare the tail out, and to make a chattering sound.
So finally towards the end of the day, S3 took to knocking on the window. This would not only scare all the birds, but even King Tut would take off for a short while. He would sit on a tree branch and continue to guard his Vat, and when any offender would dare to try to eat from his feeder, he would swoop from his branch and scare them off.
I decided to try and train this bird. I opened my hand and spread my fingers out, like they do with their tails when I knocked. Hummingbirds are smart. After a while, all I had to do was flare my hand, and he would take off without any knocking on the window, and the rest of the birds would continue to eat. Pretty funny stuff.
S3 decided to go out and refill the vats, and while he was out there, he got several more pictures of the birds. Then he sat down and held both feeders. The little birds were quite concerned and curious. Most of them hovered above his head where the strings still hung. But a few brave souls came down and literally ate out of his hand, including Snitch. The picture is the best I could do, and you cannot see his bright orange throat, but that is a picture of him on the left above.
It was great entertainment for the cost of a little sugar and some red food coloring.


Kay Dennison said...

Whoa!!!!!!!!! What cool photos and a great story!

Sailor said...

Hi Friend,

A cute post and some great pictures. Those little guys are hard to get a good picture of. They are too busy fighting each other to smile for the camera. What a lot of fun can be had with a little sugar water.

RisibleGirl said...

Wow- those are brave hummingbirds. My dad tells me that his hummingbirds are very bossy with him and get cranky when he's filling their feeders.

Mine are too busy in the garden to pay attention to my feeder. I hope they migrate this year. Keeping them fed during the winter required thawing the hummingbird feeder MANY mornings.

Annieofbluegables said...

Thank you, Kay and Sailor. :)
IT was fun to take the pictures.

yeah, RG. I saw your post on your frozen hummingbird feeder. . . Made me want to move up where you live, if you have hummingbirds in the winter. You must have great weather. It's too dang cold here for them to live here past October. They generally vanish by the end of August.


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