Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hummingbirds of the Mists

I have two and sometimes three hummingbird feeders. Over the past several years I have watched the tiny little nervous birds whir here and whir there.

They seem to have a system. I watched them fly into my yard and take a nip from the feeder closest to the house, then leave and fly west to my next door neighbor’s feeder. Then, fly back to my yard for a good drink from my other feeder, then, fly into the yard of the people behind us and visit their feeder. Then, back to the first feeder in our yard, then to the neighbor’s, then back to our other feeder, then the people behind us, then back to our yard. They stuck to one pattern.

They need to drink the nectar from the feeders often for enough energy to fly to the next feeder…then they need more nectar because they just used up what they had – so, they fly to the next feeder for more nectar, then refuel, so to speak, and fly to the next one… around and around…. That is the only life they know…. Do they fly from nectar feeder after another in order to live or do they live to fly from one feeder after another.

If they just slow down, perch on a limb and rest they wouldn’t need as much nectar.

I wonder if that is why some humans continue to work long after they are eligible to retire…. Only thing, instead of flying they are just trying to keep up with a standard of living they sat for themselves?

It is a vicious cycle, then you die. The hummingbirds have one thing on the non-retiring humans in this aspect – at least they get to stop and smell the roses.


Blogger Jean said...

I have different observations to add. There are no neighbors nearby to whom to fly, so they fight over the two feeders. Once I noticed they'd disappeared; they were hanging out in the chinaberry grove which was in bloom. They visit many flowers that have trumpet-shaped blooms.

They also eat insects. Last summer I noticed a hummer hovering in the air in a kind of little dance. Looking closer, I noticed he was in the middle of a swarm of gnats. We need many, many more hummers here to reduce the gnat population.

4:55 AM  
Blogger ET said...

I think I remember reading something about hummers needing a certain amount of insects in their diet.

I don't know, but I would think they have no natural enemies because nothing can catch them.

5:08 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

I used to watch the hummingbirds that would visit my hibiscus plants on the deck several times a day. Last summer, I didn't have any plants (too hot, drought) and I missed seeing them. This year, drought or no drought, I'll have some plants to draw the birds!!

5:39 AM  
Blogger ET said...

They are nice to watch aren't they?

12:28 PM  
Blogger George Goddard said...

We have humming bitd feeders in the mountains. They are attracted to the color red. If you don't believe me, sit on your porch while wearing a red hat. I hear that they migrage to South America and then return the next season, but were almost wiped out by the terrible hurricanes a few years ago. Their offspring will return to the places of their parents.

2:35 PM  
Blogger ET said...

Isn't it amazing they have a tiny little GPS in that tiny little brain?

3:39 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

They do have some natural enemies. If you should see a large praying mantis hanging out near your hummer feeder, relocate him quickly.

5:47 AM  

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