Thursday, May 21, 2009

Arizona Hummingbirds

We have hummingbirds here in the desert but I have no idea what they would be eating if there was no feeder. There are very tiny flowers coming into bloom but nothing I would have thought to be of interest.

Hummingbirds are known to be territorial and can be pretty aggressive but we never saw evidence of it in Santa Cruz. There was such an abundance of things hummingbirds like to eat that we rarely saw any fighting or territorial activities.

Here there is one very large feeder shaped like a giant strawberry and about 9-10 hummingbirds. There's more than enough food in the feeder for an army of hummers but they don't think like that. There's one extra large aggressive hummer and he wants it. He chases any bird that tries to get near. Then he tears away through the air, swoops up in the sky, comes back down and zooms over the house as if he's doing some sort of victory dance. A few seconds later the next challenger comes in and it starts all over.

We've been watching this for a few weeks now but lately I've noticed a brand new behavior. Some of the other birds are ganging up. One will come in and get chased while a third bird comes in to take advantage of the situation and feed. Then they change places. Sometimes the two challenging birds come in at the same time. Super Hummer can only chase one so the other always gets a chance to feed. I've also noticed that the challenging birds tend not to chase each other. They'll both feed together at least for short bursts of time.

It's very interesting to see how this bird behavior has progressed.

The photo on this blog today is by my partner Paul. He'd really like it if you came over and visited his blog, too!


madison house designs said...

They are so beautiful! I haven't seen any around here yet (Ohio). I usually see them bouncing around the flowers on the side of the house. Hopefully they show up soon, in the meantime, thanks for sharing yours!

Samantha said...

What a sweet hummingbird feeder! I've been wanting one, I just got some honeysuckle that attracts them. :)

Mrs.Kwitty said...

Isn't that something that they are working together against the aggressor! Fascinating! Love the pic, it's not all that easy to get a shot of one of those little beauties!
Smiles, Karen