Hummer’s Mean Home: Part I (Perching)~


Coming home means hanging out with the hummers.

I don’t worry about them when I’m gone.

I just miss them.

My husband, the actual-factual, logical-biostatistician, said incredulously, “They fly up to me like they missed me.”

He’s not used to thinking like this,


but he can’t help noticing such obvious birdy behavior.

Speaking of birdy behavior, we are having a problem this year.

The snoozing little capitalist you see above is dominating two quart-sized feeders and relentlessly attacking and driving all hummers off who try to feed. He spends more time hoarding nectar than feeding and snoozes all the time because he’s exhausted from all his effort. Of course he can’t even begin to drink this much nectar!

You can see him perched on the wire above the feeder, waiting to attack any bird that dares to drink! We have three feeders now spaced far apart to control him, one in a bush that is impossible for him to monitor, but when I shut one of “his” feeders down, he goes to dominate another. We have never had such a greedy little guy and he reigns unchallenged. I hope he’s not learning this behavior from watching humans! πŸ˜‰


Cheers to you from the harmonious Holler Hummers….(and the one little greedy guy)~

288 thoughts on “Hummer’s Mean Home: Part I (Perching)~

  1. Welcome home. Precious, beautiful hummers were aware and happy to see your return. Did they hope your husband would do something about the Greedy One? 3 feeders, now, in Abundant Kingdom.

    • Yes definitely, they wanted him to figure out a solution. My computer desk sits by a window next to two feeders. If one goes empty, they fly up to my window and hover there buzzing, prompting me to get up and refill! Laughing. They are preternatural little creatures!

    • I think you might be right and humans are generally worse at it then other animals. Although I have a grandog who is quite a toy stealer and hider, but I think he learned this from close association with humans! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  2. Great pictures! And tell your actual-factual husband that birds do remember people!… πŸ˜‰

    I feed my feathered friends only in winter so they will not forget how to fend for themselves and become too dependent on me. My ‘problem’ folks are a bit the jackdaws. They are rather boisterous without really chasing away others, but also very amusing. Whatever they can carry away to eat ‘back home’, they certainly will πŸ˜€ So it is a constant game to find ways to tell them that my different (4) restaurants aren’t ‘take away’… and each time it takes them only a short while to figure out my last trick… They certainly keep me on my toes… πŸ˜€

    Another thing is that when I go out into my little jungle, I hardly ever rate a warning call unless I’m maybe too close to their little ones that are exercising their wings. while usually I can follow any cat or less familiar being around the place by just the calls that arise. So, they certainly know the difference πŸ™‚

    • How wonderful! It is great to talk with a fellow bird appreciator! Yes, birds are being intensely studied now, finally, for all sorts of advanced intelligence, of course as you mention memory and recognition, but also far more complicated things like sense of self in the environment. The intelligence of corvids is now known to be similar to that of the great apes. Ravens can remember a person who did a mean thing to them for five years. Birds have brought me presents (magpies). Hummingbirds follow us around the garden and join us on our walks. Owls and I sing together and black birds eat routinely out of my son’s hands. Birds seem to favor certain people. They know where I am and what I am doing long before I know the same about them. I know this because every time I find one in telephoto they are staring directly at me even if a half mile away! Birds rock!

  3. Adorable! They are such fearless defenders of their territory. I’ve often been dive bombed when I’m too close to the flower they want, and they chase each other off the cape honeysuckle constantly. I could watch them all day.

  4. Beautiful Cindy – not just the hummers (I didnt know they were so colorful!) but the post, the sentiments, the patience, the humor, the person behind the camera – amazing!

  5. Your hummers are gorgeous! Shame on that one hummer hogging the feeders! He obviously didn’t learn to share! Welcome back to your holler sweetie! Hugz Lisa and Bear

  6. Pingback: Amazing photographs of humming birds from blogger: Cindy Knoke | Rethinking Life

  7. Sounds like one of our chipmunks. We named him Dennis because he’s a menace!! But he’s learning to be kinder. I hope your little guy does too! Fabulous photos, incredible birds!!!

  8. I expect they do miss you as an interesting phenomena and friendly presence. Pretty little things and a pleasure to see but I suppose that is no guarantee of good behaviour. πŸ˜€

  9. This little bird is aggressive. πŸ™‚ I bet they were so happy to see you and your husband.
    These photos are incredibly clear!

      • I was wondering the same thing! I have Nikon d7000 that I’m learning to use. It’s a big learning curve, since I’m not technical-minded. I really like your humming birds. Great shots!

        • Oh, I missed your comment and am happy I found it. Different Photographic approaches work well for different people, you can see this in the amazing variance in people’s photos. What has worked for me is just going outside, having fun, taking photos, trashing the amazing amount of failures, waiting for the good, and being non-deterred by the amount of failure, because this is how I learn.
          I also avoid manuals, technical instructions, like the plague. They are somebodies else’s instructions.
          Just play.

  10. Your posts including this, made me little more closer towards nature and to keenly observe its architecture,and i hope you keep travelling, observing and capturing the beauty of it,and i love those little flying creatures..along with open writing

    • Oh, you just gave me goosebumps. It makes me very happy to think the photos had this affect on you and I greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness in telling me. Be well & thank you.

  11. Such beauties! I’ve seen one approaching a red rose in our yard, and it makes me smile every time. I’ll be interested in hearing how you “ration” Mr. Greedy’s nectar so the other hummers can feed, ha!

  12. Reblogged this on TINA FRISCO and commented:
    Brilliant post by Cindy Knoke on hummingbirds. Her description of one little hummer, as well as that of her husband, are not to be missed! Looking forward to Part II with acquisitive anticipation 😊

  13. Breathtakingly beautiful pictures Cindy! Well Captured. How did you manage to click them so close. The colors,the texture,the layers they are all so visible.One word.Amazing!

  14. Hey Cindy,

    May I say I was blown away by these photographs you have captured
    They are a delight, so bright, a stunning sight,
    And so exquisitely feathered.

    Thank you for posting…a real treat for me living in the UK where these beautiful aviators are very few and far between. I adore them, not just for their beauty, their grace, and their amazing flying abilities but also for their symbolism, which is just as merry and bright. If I may I’ll leave a link to a site providing reflection of the Hummer. Thank you.

    http://www.whats-your-sign.com/hummingbird-animal-totem.html

    Hoping all is well wherever you may. Thank you for a joyous post on what is already an overcast Monday morning here in Wales, UK. Yet still, the songbirds sing, the crows cras and the sea-gulls soar and captivate my imagination.

    Take care of you, hubby and the Hummers in all ways always.

    Namaste πŸ™‚

    DN

      • Hey Cindy,

        It’s my pleasure always, thank you for a kind and generous reply to add to the enjoyment I’ve already had in visiting, reading, and viewing these beautiful photographs. They made me very happy indeed, thank you.

        Curiously as your notification arrived I was just reading your gravatar profile and enjoying the humour there-in. The wilderness within which you live, thrive and continue to love this life sounds incredible. Certainly it is a large slice of heaven and all of it on your doorstep. Lucky you! I am just a little bit jealous πŸ™‚

        Thank you for bringing colour to my Monday. Enjoy a wonderful week.

        Namaste <3

        DN

  15. Your photos are superb, Cindy, and those little guys are quite beautiful. I guess the greedy fella is like Napoleon, out for conquest. πŸ™‚

  16. I’ve always been in awe of the hummingbird. Before I moved to the city last year, my neighbor had a feeder and we were graced with these beauties’ amazing flight patterns. Your photos are stunning, Cindy! <3 I especially was drawn to the little one (fifth from the top). So cutely disheveled. Love the perspective of the perch he's sitting on.

  17. Cindy, we have a similar set of hummingbirds here who buzz the others away- maybe they know something we don’t? They are beautiful photos!

  18. They’re so beautiful. It’s like they love posing for you. What a greedy little guy. I have one cat that wants to visit every other kitty’s breakfast bowl before he’s done with his own. Maybe it’s a guy thing! πŸ˜› πŸ˜†

    • My son solved the problem by placing a feeder obscured in a bush. It was hard for him to get to, and when he tried to police it, he couldn’t monitor the one, so he eventually gave up, and now sharing is occurring once more!

  19. Did you end it by saying “cheers to you by the harmonious…..” Did you see that knife!!!! Comming out of that birds mouth? Freaky…..
    Nice pics as always, hope you didn’t get to near one of those things

    • Laughing……These guys are half the size of your baby finger! That was his tongue coming out of him mouth so he could draw up nectar. Hummingbird tongues are longer than their bodies. They are super precision fliers, and can fly an inch from your eye at great speed and all you will feel is the air draft as they whiz by!

      • Thank you for helping me get out of the trauma, you said they only will fly half an inch from you? Makes me feel better…..freaking birds are freaky, you can explain it however you want….. still freaky,
        love ya, have a great day I certainly will since I got paid today, but don’t scare me again…..fliying an in from me, that’s what I need…. jesus woman!

  20. What a fascinating story, Cindy. We see the challenges, but never to this degree. Poor little guy wearing himself out. He’s the alpha, ALPHA of the holler hummers.

    • Oh my! I have heard of people who can’t leave their houses because they have to constantly replenish their 20 or so feeders and they accommodate hundreds of birds! I am happy with my 20-40 birds and 3 feeders!

      • Wow. Who knew? We have several nectar plants in addition to our feeders (one in the front, two in the back). My favorite is a semi circle that attaches to the kitchen window.

        • Yes, smart of you to have those plants for them. Hummingbirds eat primarily gnats like fruit flies, which give them protein, and nectar from flowers as an adjunct. If a hummingbird is fed only nectar it will die which is how they get killed by lots of people who rescue them. At The Holler they are in orchard territory which means an endless supply of fruit flies and nectar. They use the feeders because it is a lot easier than flying flower to flower to drink nectar, but they aren’t really dependent on the feeders under normal circumstances, like now, when the orchards that haven’t died (so many did during the drought) are thriving. However, in the last five years or so, during California’s horrendous drought every wild plant and animal at The Holler was pushed towards death, and the hummingbirds were dependent on our feeders. Now they are not, which is why that little capitalist dominated the feeder. He could, because he had so much food. I watch the hummers in zoom, and they basically suck down gnats like breathing. It is so good to see them out of crisis mode.

          • Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Cindy. We rescued an infant hummer a few years ago, but only kept it overnight before taking it to a wild animal shelter and rehab. She was so small, so soft and wonderfully trusting. I have a photo of her sitting on my son’s chest, scooped in his hand. I’m glad she was nursed to health and released. I’ve had the pleasure of watching a hummingbird remove spider webbing from the garden for her nest, along with tufts of spent flower seeds. I’m quite smitten. And yes, thank goodness this drought is behind us.

            • How smart you were to take the bird to rescue. I am not trained to provide rescue and I wouldn’t attempt it either. But how lovely to have cared for him overnight. And I know exactly what you mean about how trusting they are . It is nothing short of miraculous!

  21. I always figure that when the hummers dive-bomb me after I’ve been gone for awhile, they are complaining about their feeder being empty and urging me to fill it up, post haste! πŸ™‚ –Curt

  22. Cindy, I have yet to get my feeder hung here at the new place. There are four or five units in our building that have them and they say there are a lot of hummers to go around. I had many at our old place and left the feeder fully stocked there for the new owner. I bought a new one and just need a hook to hang it. Your little scrapper sounds like one my Mom had many years ago who did much the same thing. But the others weren’t so forgiving. They ganged up on him and eventually, they all ate again in harmony!

    • So you are part of two generations of hummingbird lovers. How marvelous is this! Ancient peoples created amazing giant rock carvings of hummingbirds that could only be viewed from mountain tops. Your mother and you are a connection, a continuation, of people’s ancient love of hummingbirds

  23. He must have been watching too much tv! I’m glad your son found a solution to Mr Greedy. I wonder what the human equivalent might be πŸ˜‰
    I love the details …. and the story Cindy. Thank you for a lovely share πŸ’›

  24. Ha-ha! Birds really do have personality! I love watching our three pairs of cardinals. I choose to believe that they are all family members, and they return to have their babies in my shrubs. Just last night, I saw our first hummingbird of the season. I just love the little guys…even the greedy ones! πŸ˜‰

      • When we moved here ten years ago, we had one pair of cardinals. I told my husband I wanted them to be happy and have their families here. I did some research on them and planted an elm hedge and an olive hedge by the feeder. They have returned each year,and now they bring their ‘adult’ children. Very happy about that. They are beautiful color on a winter or spring day!

  25. ☺Oh dear! I have similar problems with our birds – they are thugs! They even broke the feeder in a battle for domination! I now have a better one which the big boys can’t hang onto so the little tiddlers get their fair share now. They still all do battle oN the other ones though! Bird table is starting to look very wobbly and wonky and somewhat off balance as a result! πŸ˜†πŸ˜…πŸ™ƒ

  26. How territorial your little hummer king is. The urge to compete and dominate must be part of the genetic code. Perhaps the scarcity that happened during your absence made the urge more intense.

    • Well the feeders stay up when we’re gone. But his behavior may well have gone unchecked for a long time and become entrenched. I started moving the feeders as soon as I saw what he was doing. If this had happened earlier, the behavior may have been less embedded.

    • Awww, so kind of you and touched my <3. Thank you! I love chatting with my blogging friends and feel very honored they take the time to comment, so it is all just pure joy for me. <3

  27. I love these shots. Our hummers have been a little scarce lately, not sure why, but hoping for their return soon….

    • Depends where you are and what the local conditions are. We have about twenty plus birds this summer which is about half of normal because there is so much nectar and bugs for them in the environment now that the drought has ended.

  28. Excellent commentary at the end there! I love them but hummers are so territorial and aggressive. Maybe like chihuahuas (and other beings), they’re overcompensating for their diminutive size? πŸ˜‰ x

  29. Cindy, the photos are amazing and beautiful! We have been away for almost two months now, so I hope our hummers haven’t abandoned us completely! We do have cannas that I hope can sustain them with no feeders.

    We have a Greedy George that dies the same thing! Wondering what he’s doing when we’re gone! 🌞

  30. OMgosh, your photo’s are just A-mazing Cindy! You really could, nay should, be published in National Geographic or something. Maybe you have been? The little Tyrant wanting it all might be taking lessons from the nightly news (wink). How frustrating for all the other little visitors to your feeders. Good luck with that. I’ve been watching two Robins chasing a squirrel through my yard for about a week. They must have their nest near by. He usually gives them the zip-hop-turn-around move and ends up in the feeder anyways. Then I, the voyeuristic gardener, cleans up all the twigs and leaves their scuttle creates. I feel like the maid out there some days, ha!

    • Well, definitely a servant, if not a maid, laughing! It’s such a privilege isn’t it, because you get to be accepted by the critters and they are so much more fun to watch than movies or TV! Speaking of TV, I don’t watch it, but I do read the news and watch news clips on my laptop, right by the hummer feeders, so you comments forced me to acknowledge, I am the culprit in the horrible hummer’s behavior. Just like teenagers and too much TV, I created a monster!!!! Laughing! Hugs to you dear one~ <3

  31. He may be greedy, but he is really beautiful, especially when he’s snoozing! I have three or four hummer stations because the little critters are so incredibly territorial, although I’ve never seen this very interesting behaviour before. Thank you for your stunning photographs and always engaging commentary.

  32. The photos are stunning! I have not come near getting a good picture of one. We noticed that the hummingbirds on our feeder spend more time fighting than they did drinking too. Fiesty little rascals, they.

  33. That little greedy hummer needs to sleep and allow others to eat! I liked the ruffled feathers and the pretty way the feathers are illuminated! πŸ™‚ Sweet hummers, usually chummers, may need to find a way to share. xo β€πŸŽ†πŸŒˆ

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