Friday, March 27, 2009

I Can't Shake Him!

The whistling, buzzing sound zipped by me like a vengeful alien mutant giant wasp favored by the Old Ones.  

Yay, a hummingbird!  Rufous, to be exact.  First of the season.  (Some hummingbirds stick around all year but generally they do that in the valley--not here in the hills.)  I go inside and fix up the first batch of hummingbird food of the year, one part cane sugar, four parts water, absolutely and never anything else like honey (kills them) or fruit juice (spoils rapidly) or food coloring (totally unnecessary.)  This year I have organic cane sugar, which came out looking like flat, weak beer but the hummingbird didn't mind.  He buzzed me as I put it up, and then came in to feed.  

Only to be chased by another hummingbird.  

Good grief.  The feeder is up all of five minutes and we already have hummingbird wars?  Really?

These two have been dogfighting ever since I put the thing up.  Once toward evening yesterday they both settled to feed at the same time--I think they were low on energy to begin with and tired each other out.  Not today.  Today they are high on sugar and it's non-stop hummingbird action.  One has found a favored perch within a few feet of the feeder, on my white akebia vine, which is about ready to explode with blossoms.

If I'm going to attract any Anna's hummingbirds this year I'll have to hide a second feeder and possibly a third.  Between the late spring tube flowers that will provide natural fodder and multiple feeders, some of the more shy hummingbirds may be able to stake out a small claim if they don't give up with disgust before the plant leaf-out provides them with some cover.  But I suspect it'll be rufous hummers and not much else around here.

1 comment:

Steve Perry said...

The Annas stick around my neighborhood year-round, and I have had to bring the feeder in a couple times to thaw it this winter. Get the males dogfighting, but usually not until spring, and mated pairs will sit and feed together. I had a family last year, male, female, and baby, all perched and drinking at once.

Don't see many of the other varieties, though we have flowers planted to draw 'em.