Preying~


They land on the windows each year,

reflecting clouds.

They come to eat the hummingbirds.

I detach them gently from the glass, using envelopes.

But they always return to where they were,

and swivel their heads around to look at me.

Cheers to you from the amazing alien creatures we all are~

205 thoughts on “Preying~

  1. Love the shadow the preying mantises project. Mother nature’s shadow art. It is to be noted that the female Praying Mantis chews the male’s head off after procreation. Love the photos

      1. So long time, as you have a good story beside your photos, you can attract many people, Cindy.
        This post show so well, how Mantis are looking and not all are so lucky to see this very often.

      1. Snakes don’t bother me if they’re not poisonous. Years ago I saw a garter snake on the sidewalk outside my eye doctor’s office. It literally raised up to “see” me and my son, flicking his tongue at us. He was actually kind-of cute. My son scooped him up, using a school folder and moved him to a grassy area. He was harmless. Anything that crawls on me or buzzes around my head I can’t stand. I even like bats. I love to see them flying around. I had one at my suet feeder. I went out to fill the birdseed feeders, and it was still dark out. The bat flew right past my ear. He was cool, too.

  2. It’s really the first time I actually look at pictures of grashoppers. They look like thin cigars with legs. But they have wisdom lurking in their small heads with enormous eyes. They way they look at you, at us, is of the knowing. (I don’t know what I’m writing. Forgive me. The pics are wonderful. πŸ™‚ )

    1. It is fascinating to think about how insects might perceive us! We tend to focus on them creeping us out, but imagine how they must view us giants who kill them so readily and often for no reason.

  3. Praying mantises always sort of give me the creeps, Cindy. I know they’re basically harmless to humans (some even keep them as pets!), but those alien eyes and “hairy” legs just make me shudder. Great photos, though!

  4. They are very bizarre looking creatures, but like you say, aren’t we all? I’m sure we look funny to them. I wish they would find something else to eat other than hummingbirds, though.

  5. Great post. I’m glad you try to protect the hummingbirds, but I suppose everyone has to eat. Their grasping forelegs and curious gaze makes me glad they are not larger – a fearsome predator!

  6. A couple of weeks ago, my friend was shocked to see a large bright-green insect in her car while driving to work. She thought it was a grasshopper. On the phone, her daughter and I jokingly told her to act like a flirtatious grasshopper to lure the innocent creature out of the vehicle. But, when she sent us a picture of it, we both gasped! “Oh no, mom! That’s not a grasshopper, that’s a PRAYING MANTIS and they EAT grasshoppers!” her daughter exclaimed.

    My friend was freaking out over the phone, and I couldn’t stop laughing. “It’s jumping towards my head!” she screamed.

    After arriving at work, she took more pictures of the handsome critter (one in which it looked directly at my friend with its huge eyes as if studying her), and gently moved it onto a nearby bush.

    1. “one in which it looked directly at my friend with its huge eyes as if studying her”
      This is exactly what they do. They eat animals that are much bigger than themselves. When they study you, it seems they are thinking, “Is she too big for me to try and eat?”
      I understand they will bite your finger, so maybe the answer is, “Too big to eat, but not too big to taste!”

  7. Oh my! My oh! Uch! Well, I appreciate all earth’s creatures, even if I don’t like them.
    How big are these things if they eat hummingbirds? My timbers are shivering!!!!

    1. ” a very alien look to them, like they can see into your soul.”
      This describes them perfectly. Maybe this is because we can see them moving their heads and watching us which we can’t see with most other insects.

  8. Fantastic photos, Cindy! Here, in rural Ontario, we see them occasionally on plants, trees. I invite them to climb into my hand and they do. I also encourage large moths who have fallen into the bird bath to sit on my hand awhile to dry their wings, irridescent ground beetles and other assorted alien creatures I discover on my walks around my property to rest a while on my outstretched palm. I imagine they think I’m some friendly giant. I am now, and have been since I was a kid, fascinated by insects and none of these ‘creepy’ creatures has bitten me yet. However, the hummingbird is my spirit animal and I adore my little visitors. I’m disappointed to hear they are on the mantis menu. I think perhaps that your California mantis are larger than ours, but nevertheless I’ll keep a vigilant eye out for my hummers after your post. Thank you for sharing. And, thanks so much for following my posts!

    1. I was thinking along these lines yesterday when I posted this. When I was a kid my parent’s good friend was a etymologist. He gave he a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach I named Henry Fife and kept as a beloved pet. Henry never hissed at me because I never scared him. Dr Huffman, the etymologist used to have tarantulas on his arms and explained how to handle them so they wouldn’t shoot their hair at you in alarm. We had a big tarantula at the front door a few days ago and I was happy to see him and take his picture!
      Dr Huffman caught horney toads on sand dunes and he showed me how to stroke their horns to put them asleep in my palm. He said they could expel blood from their eyes when alarmed but they were never alarmed. He introduced me to trapdoor spiders with their silken tunnels and clever doors. When I was in high school I helped him with a time lapse photo experiment capturing the migrating patterns of key hole limpets. I used to hold bees as a kid. Insects and reptiles were very interesting to me and animals fascinated me. Now that I am getting old, I am returning to my childhood passions. I haven’t changed at all it seems, although I used to be really certain I had grown up!
      It sounds like you and I have much in common~

      1. Certainly in our fascination for all animals, including insects. It all starts with curiosity I suppose and a desire to learn about everything, especially animals. Such rich experiences you had as a child. You had your Henry and I had Mary, a big Australian roach from the Toronto Zoo, rescued for me by a kind exterminator friend of the family who knew I loved insects. It’s wonderful to grow up caring about critters great and small and so lovely to return to your childhood passions. As always, I look forward to your next post and photos.

      1. Hey! I’m a sagittarian and I don’t look like a mantis πŸ˜‰
        Just how big are they, if they can eat the hummingbirds ? And how do they immobilise birds with such fast rapid wing movements? Presumably they sneak up on them when they’re roosting.

  9. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    I am not an insect person.. in fact do not mention camping to me .. ever! But I am perfectly happy looking at images of these incredible creatures. Cindy Knoke of course has no such qualms and gets up close and personal with these alien looking beings… The Preying Mantis as you have never seen them before and I did not know that they found hummingbirds edible… stunning photography as always from Cindy. #recommended

  10. paulandruss

    Cindy absolutely beautiful Photographs- I have always thought them to be the most incredible creatures. From what Sally Said I had no idea they attacked hummingbirds. Horrific but amazing!

    1. Yes! There is something entirely otherworldly about them, but since they have been here much longer than we have, maybe they are more justified in thinking this about us more recent interlopers!

  11. Wonderful photos and the reflection adds an eerieness. We do need to embrace the insect world too. I guess they are as bid or bigger than a humming bird. We don’t have humming birds here in Europe but have had a praying mantis on my porch. Seemed more praying than preying.

  12. As long as it doesn’t sting. it looks like one of them we had in London. They liked to crawl in the bathroom at summer time. And we called it “daddy long legs.” Took me back in the days when my daughter was a little girl. she went to bathroom, and if I heard her screamed, I knew it was “daddy long legs” that had given us a visit. ahahaha. poor thing she was really scared of that little silly creature.

      1. hahahah you made me laugh so much to read that you played with them as a kid. Don’t let my daughter read it, cause it was her worst nightmare of her childhood hahahahah what a laugh. poor daddy long legs.

        1. Laughing…poor daddy longs legs is right. They must have seen me coming and been more terrified than your daughter….”Oh no, the huge, horrible monster creature is coming BACK and it will pick us up! Run…………”

  13. It’s the time of year we see some large praying mantises landing on our picture window. Drives the cats crazy! You got great shots of these, and their reflections.

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