Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why More Than One Feeder?

There's more than enough nectar for all 4 of us. Everyone, chill & have some sucrose. (out my office window)
Why do I set out more than one nectar feeder in some locations around my house?  Well, first, the shepherd hook mounts often come with 2 hooks, and I have more than one double hook...
Now boys, there's no need to fight...
 ...but more than that, it is to encourage more hummingbirds to come and feed, attracting as many as possible.   I get Anna's, Allen's, Rufous, Black Chinned and the occasional Costa's hummingbirds.

The females share the nectar happily, though nervously...  always wary of some young male who might try and swoop in and threaten them.  Two adolescent males will try and intimidate each other, but usually they both decide they're too thirsty to fight, and just perch on the same feeder to lap up as much sugar as they can before a bigger, older, stronger male runs them off.

The males' brains are instinctually programmed to fight and hoard as many resources as possible.  The younger males, especially of the smaller Rufous and Allen's species try to threaten everything, while the older, mature, fully-ascotted males like the larger Anna's that are ~20% bigger than the other species are more often laid back, like "boy, you don't want to make me angry... you wouldn't like it when I'm angry Mr McGee"

I try to wash out the feeders about every 2 weeks, or "every other filling" if they don't show visible signs of mold, fungus, bacteria, or smell bad.

Trying to focus in on the head of a hummingbird while the wings are furiously beating is not an easy task.  The photo above was taken at 10 feet away, with a 75X zoom, through a glass window and screen (Panasonic Lumix makes some truly awesome optics software).

Sharing is much less stressful than fighting and fencing with your beak & aerial momentum, as these Anna's females understand.

This feisty little Rufous thinks he owns the feeders outside my window.  It's always a treat when I can catch him in the sun light feeding with his fierce plumage reflecting the sun's rays.

This immature Anna's male (note the lack of fully bright ascot plumage and just the start of a goatee) loves the Fuchsia plants outside the family room windows in my back yard.  I believe hummingbirds see Fuchsia flowers & Hibiscus blossoms similar to how I see most red Bordeaux and Languedoc-Roussilion wines... as a delicious staple that's preferred, whenever available.  Sure, I'll take a $5 Nero d'Avola Italian bottle as a daily table wine (like a sucrose nectar feeder). But given a choice of something more delicious... mmmmm.

This little Rufous guards the front yard feeders outside of DDF's window, roosting high up on the spines of the palm trees in the shade. He's ready to swoop down the 15 foot elevation advantage and scare off anyone who's attempting to sip his nectar.
He's trying to do his best Smaug impersonation... but doesn't have the scales or girth to pull it off.
The Anna's male who sits on a  low hanging vine-that-looks-like-a-swing over our backyard patio will often sit and sing for an hour or so, telling all the neighborhood females "hey baby, I've got nectar if you're thirsty, Fuchsia plants not too far away, and lots of places you can build your nest...  hey baby..." It's just kinda sad that the male hummingbirds don't help at all in the nest building, child raising, or home defense, leaving it all to the fertile female.  The only thing the males do is hoard resources, fight with other males, attempt to posture impressively, and sing their own praises loudly.  It's a good thing their plumage looks spectacular int he sunlight, or I would have lost interest a long time ago.

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