Sunday, April 12, 2009

Backyard of Hummingbirds

On Friday afternoon, I was doing yoga in the backyard next to the pool, when I saw a small Anna's hummingbird flying erratically. Sort of pivoting in mid air, about 4 feet off the ground, darting a few inches forward, then backing up, pivoting about 60 degrees, and darting forward again, 4 or 5 times. I looked closer, and saw the sunlight glinting off 2 gnats, that the hummingbird quickly swallowed, on after another. Hummingbirds need protein too!

After polishing off what was a small swarm of gnats, she flew over the mammoth spanish lavender that is taking over part of the back yard in front of the thriving lemon tree we planted 18 months ago, and precisely drank from a dozen blossoms (washing the gnats down, I assume). I've seen hummingbirds pluck tiny spiders off of webs before, but had never known they cold polish off a swarm of gnats at a single hovering.

I've noticed the females hummingbirds this year are as feisty, pugnacious, and territorial as the males have always been. There's also been an increase in the the visitation frequency, as many of the renters have not watered their flowering succulents, where the owners used to (from a visual survey of the backyards visible from my patio's roof). I haven't seen Archie around this year, but there's no shortage of females in area if he does return, and wants to sample some cross-species strange feather.

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