Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Hungry Hummingbird

This is the first weekday in weeks that I've had a chance to noodle around. What did I do?

I sat on my deck, read, and looked at my birds. I have a tiny bird bath and a hummingbird feeder. If I don't stare at them, the chickadees bathe within five feet of me. The hard part is that I so badly want to watch the chickadees and the towhees up close. It almost works to look in the middle distance and see them in my peripheral vision. The towhees are much more shy and so far only bathe when I'm inside my house. They don't seem to mind noise from inside, but they don't come too close when I'm outside.

The chickadees splash water onto my book. Did I ever tell you how the chickadees got into the habit of pecking at my windows when the bird feeders were empty? I've since had to stop feeding them. Much as I'd like to, it brought rats, raccoons, and the bear ate there too. I guess the berry suet was too good to share. I could argue with my husband about the rats and the raccoons, but I didn't have any intention of surprising a bear at his berry suet. So, I satisfy myself with the hummingbird feeders and the bird bath.

Have I ever told you how much I love my bird bath? It's a simple terracotta saucer for a pot that I don't even have any more. All I have to do is add water and now and then I brush it out and rinse it. These days, I add water nearly every day.

So, I had brought out some work and my lunch to the back deck this afternoon. The chickadee came and went while I read and ate and didn't even splash me this time. Then, I heard what sounded like the wings of a big bug. I stood up thinking I might need to go inside. I don't like big bugs.

And as I stood there, not sure what to do next, a hummingbird checked me out, coming at me from a couple of different angles and making me take a step backward. I've heard they are territorial birds, but I never expected to be intimidated by one.

I went inside and checked out my field guide. I think I have a calliope hummingbird. The recordings on the Cornell Ornithology Lab sound right. It could also be a Rufous hummingbird. I'm no expert.

When I went back outside, I noticed that there were only a couple of drops left in the feeder, so I took it inside to clean it out and add more sugar water. I was letting the washed glass feeder and the sugar water cool when I looked out the window. The hummingbird was hovering at the spot where I usually hang her food. She was agitated, floating first one way and then the other. She charged forward and then buzzed away for a minute.

A chickadee came in for a dip in the pool. Oh, the joy of a moment to yourself in the pool.

And the hummingbird, still agitated, dived toward his head, backed up and dived toward him again. The poor chickadee flew off in a huff and hasn't been back all afternoon.

I guess you don't mess with a hungry hummingbird.

Thank you for listening, jb

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