Buzz Bombers on the Balcony
A couple of years ago at the church fair, our middle daughter, crew four, won a hummingbird feeder. Now her father had never allowed me to buy a hummingbird feeder because he had read some pretty scary things about those tiny flying jewels.
It seems that some fool tried to disturb a nest and was impaled by the enraged bird. The bird hit him in the eye and killed the human. Killed the bird too, but the story was enough to cause my husband to outlaw the feeders. He did not want to attract anything that might possibly injure one of the crew.
Our number four child persuaded her father, as only girls seem to be able to do, and the feeder was hung on the balcony. Thus began what we refer to as the hummingbird wars. We eat our evening meals on the balcony about ten feet from where the feeder is hung. It is enjoyable to see the tiny vividly colored birds hover and land at the feeder. But as the nature of the bird is very possessive, we had one pair that took over the feeder. The male would wait in the oak behind the house and attack whenever another hummer would approach. Often the pursuit was such that the speeding birds would swoop low over the table causing us all to duck.
Buzzing and clicking, the birds will dart in and around the posts and rafters of the balcony. Both the male and the female of the home pair chase. To see them sitting on a branch of the live oak one would not believe such fury was possible. At rest they are about the size of the live oak leaf.
A neighbor who is an avid birder explained to me that the hummingbird must feed almost constantly during the day. The metabolism of the creature is such that they must have a constant supply of calories to survive. In fact, at night their sleep is so deep it resembles hibernation. This explains the battle for the bird feeder. She advised me to get at least two feeders for the balcony to cut down on the fighting. This might help, but the neighbors have four feeders and still the birds battle over control of the territory.
In the fall, we are advised to take in the feeders so the birds will not stay around too long. They need to move south for the winter. Some of our summer visitors are back to nest and sing, but that’s another story.
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