Monday, August 30, 2010

Hummingbird Battles

I spent a good bit of time this past weekend photographing the antics of our hummingbirds. We have two feeders, one in our courtyard, and one in the back yard ... and the hummers have been in a feeding frenzy for the past several days, trying to fatten themselves up to get ready for migration in a few weeks.

I'm ashamed to say that ours are not being very mannerly little hummers either. In fact, they are being downright greedy, overly aggressive, and are not sharing at all.

They light on nearby shrubbery or trees watching and waiting for a few seconds, then they swoop down to the feeder for a quick sip of nectar, all the while, watching and on guard, in case another hummer tries to come eat. It's not like the feeders have only one perch -- they each have four -- but it's rare to see two birds eating at one time.

If another hummer even thinks about trying to get a sip, he is immediately and violently attacked by the very vocal defending hummer, whose wings and tail feathers are spread in full "battle mode."

They look as if they are dancing ... whizzing and swooping through the air, their tiny wings making a whooshing sound as they zip by overhead. I love the way they chatter to each other, as if to say, "Go away! I found it first!"

Needless to say, with all that swooping and whizzing and battling going on, I wasn't very successful in capturing many pictures worthy of sharing. Having said that, here are a few I was able to capture that show the little guys in action.

This poor little guy looks a little battle-weary as he finds a resting place in between battles.

Here's another one in his "watching and waiting" mode:

And while that one was watching and waiting, this one sneaked in for a quick sip, but was constantly checking for incoming hummers.

Bless his heart, he finally got to take a sip, but didn't get to stay long without being challenged by another hungry little hummer.

I haven't given up on getting better pictures. I'm going to try again later this morning, and, hopefully, will have some more pictures to share.


Deb said...

these are great photos...what fun

RachelD said...

No matter what their size, all species DO have that Territory Defense mode. Chris and I sat here and really enjoyed these---he's seen nests, with teensy eggs the size of little green peas, but neither of us has ever seen a baby. Have you?

Seems the Mama would have to lean her head WAY back standing on the nest in order to feed them with that long beak.

nanny said...

You got some great shots...I don't know how you did it!
I froze for what seemed like forever trying to get neck started hurting/ha
They are so hard to get a good shot of......

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

Beautiful shots. I only have one that stops by and it is so fast I can't get any good shots. It looks so battered and thin I fear it won't make it too long.
I got my puter up and running, it feels so good having my baby back
Hopefully I'll find time now to post a little this week.

Merisi said...

Such sweet captures!
They evoke many memories of watching "our" hummingbirds.