Friday, August 14, 2009
Hummificent The Magnificent
I’m not sure when it happened, I can’t even remember when I bought my first hummingbird feeder, but somehow I became the servant of a tiny, noisy, multicolored creature who loves sugar-water. By the time I moved into my current home (seven years ago), this mutual addiction was firmly established. I have two feeders now, and two Ruby Throats have battled over them for as long as I’ve been here. They may be the same fellows from the beginning, or they may be the offspring of the originals – it’s hard to tell. Hummingbird psychology is simple: battle fiercely for your territory, sip as much sugar-water as you can, and scold the lady who fills the feeders when she’s not moving fast enough.
One spring I was privileged to witness Hummy wars. Two Ruby-Throated males hovered like helicopters, scolded each other loudly, then dive-bombed the yard and swooped to new positions, about fifty feet up. They may have been trying too scare each other off, but it didn’t work. They still perform amazing aerial feats all year ‘round, but I haven’t seen the helicopter stunt in a while.
I like them best when they’re perching outside the living-room window, on an old tomato cage, staring in at me as if I were the entertaining oddity. This is why the sugar-water will always get refilled. This is why I remain the devoted servant of Hummificent The Magnificent.