Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Golden Hummingbird

The other evening I didn't refill the feeder for half a day, hoping the agressive hummingbird would go away if there was nothing to defend. I sat outside with no feeder for a while and noticed that the aggressive bird was not around. Then a black headed hummingbird came up to drink, finding no feeder, then flew away. The aggressive part-goldbird with the shortish beak didn't appear to drive this one away. I thought it was a good sign so I went inside to prepare the feeder. I returned the feeder to its normal position in the tree, just outside my door and waited. I think a green hummingbird came to drink, but it wasn't long before the agressive hummingbird appeared. What was I to do? How could I resolve this tragedy? Thoughts of trying to capture or even kill the aggressive hummingbird crossed my mind. But no, these were no solution. I just had to wait, be patient and observe. Besides, who was I to judge or fully understand hummingbird social behavoir.

After a while, however, the next morning I noticed the appearance of the "golden hummingbird." There is only one of these. It seems related in color to the aggressive bird who has much more green on it. The golden hummingbird is all gold with just a bit of light grey below the front neck. When facing you the face of the golden hummingbird glows with glittering orange/gold feathers. The golden hummingbird is aggressive too, as I've noticed in the past during abundant times in the history of the feeder. But it was never as aggressive as its green cousin. The golden hummingbird did serve to drive away the aggressive bird, as well as some of the others. But ultimately the golden hummingbird does allow others to drink, and doesn't stay at the feeder all day long. So, I think we are on our way back to re-establishing a full healthy symphony of hummingbirds returning to the feeder. It will likely, however, take a few days. I will keep you posted.

Ants are a problem too. Ants will often crawl down the feeder and cover it getting in the way of the hummingbirds access to the feeder holes. To resolve this problem I've used a type of greasy substance to put on the wire that holds the feeder. Today I've purchased some vaseline pure petroleum jelly for just that purpose. I plan to use it each time I refill the feeder.

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