Once you hang up a hummingbird feeder...there's never a dull moment. I could write a soap opera about all the activity generated by these feisty little birds. They are constantly battling and jockeying for position and territory control with the odd exception that sometimes, at twilight, they will call a truce and all be on the feeder at once...but it never lasts long.
So, I thought I'd introduce you to some of the players in this ongoing backyard spectacle:
This is our female Allen's Hummingbird. My son has named her "Hummzee." She's the dominant force in the backyard and when she's not at the feeder, she has a spot on a branch in a nearby tree where she sits to watch the feeder and immediately zooms out to attack anyone who comes near. This includes me...she angrily buzzes around my head as I'm trying to change out the feeder when it's dirty or empty.
Finally got a shot of her sitting still on the feeder in between battles.
Hummzee's main rival is Fanny...our female Anna's Hummingbird. Although she is a tiny bit larger, she's not as aggressive and tends to come out on the losing end of the battles.
However, every once in a while, she manages to sneak in and grab a few sips while Hummzee is busy chasing off someone else. You can also see that Fanny is molting in these photos - she's got new wing feathers coming in.
The ONE exception to Hummzee's tireless guarding of the feeder was this handsome male Allen's. She chased him off repeatedly for several days, but then I noticed she was letting him hang out on a branch in her tree.
And, eventually, she started letting him have some feeder time. Not much and not for very long, but noticeably more than anyone else. Perhaps she was swayed by his gorgeous iridescent head feathers? You can see a partial view of them in this shot.
All of these photos were taken through my family room window earlier this summer. Hummzee is still around and tonight I watched her chase off three other hummers repeatedly...zooming in full circles and spirals all around the feeder pole. It's never boring in Hummingbird Land.