Holler Hummers Battle The Centurion~

Each hummer wants this plant all to themself.

Between sips of nectar, they are constantly battling for dominion.

The plant is a blooming Century Plant or Agave Americana, that is the largest I have ever seen, big enough to feed hundreds of hummers. It is well over thirty feet tall and as wide as a telephone pole

Century Plants produce many offspring in their lives and we have lots of them at The Holler. You may notice the plant looks like a giant asparagus stalk. This is because it is related to the asparagus family. The Centurion stands guard by our front gate.

Other birdy pollinators, like orioles, love the nectar too, but they are far more civilized about sharing. The most they do is chatter endlessly at each other.

Bees are attracted en-mass to the centurion which blooms only once in a lifetime, and many 1000’s of bees are busily gathering pollen in the huge masses of flowers.

Century plants are not accurately named. They each live 10-30 years. Soon the entire plant will die, and the hummers will find something else to fight over.

Cheers to you from our giant pollen creator and the beautiful bickering pollinators~

244 thoughts on “Holler Hummers Battle The Centurion~

    1. Every pollinator swarms these blooms. I would take more photos but it is at the top of our driveway which is very steep and I have to cran my neck up to take the photos. Basically, I’m a wimp…..

    1. Some of them are ruthless fighters, and sometimes injure each other. When they collide in mid-air you can hear the woof which is amazing since they weigh as much as a dime. Most hummers are content to just drink and avoid conflict, but there are always bullies. They remind me a bit of human beings in this way.

  1. Oh my goodness, Cindy, what a story and what even more amazing images!
    I had never even heard of the centurion, and yet you have one guarding your gate.
    Totally awesome. Thanks again. for posting.

    1. Oh yes there are pups. We planted around 10 or so originally, and then replanted many of the pups. It has been over eleven years now at The Holler and we have hundreds. The only bummer is the base has a diameter of around 10 feet, and lethal barbs. This is the first one to die. Removal will not be pretty.

    1. There are always a few highly aggressive hummers. We have large populations. Once the population becomes large enough, the aggression abates. But The Centurion is a new bloomer and hence the battle continues for who will dominate. It is a draw at this point between four birds.

    1. That’s puzzling. If you have a feeder up, and disinfect it regularly to avoid bacterial/viral contamination, which I know you do, because I know what you do, the answer might be, that so many people in the Americas have fallen in love with the previously endangered hummers, and are feeding them. This backyard feeding actually brought their numbers up from dismal to way better. So they might be distracted. You might want to increase your sugar ratio to bit greater than one in four, and dye your feeder red, just for a few days, so they can learn that your feeder is where they belong <3

  2. As always, Cindy, a treat. Back in my Sacramento days, my yard was filled with lavender and with hummingbirds. Funny but, the same neighbors who complained about my lavender wall, complained they only saw hummingbirds when they came by my house… <3

    1. I shouldn’t be surprised that you had a neighbor that complained about your lavender. I had a neighbor that once told me my flower garden violated the HOA regs which specified I could only have ‘ground cover,’ in my front yard, no flowers. Honestly, some people will find fault everywhere, but in themselves…..

  3. I have never seen or even heard of a tree like that before. Fascinating and wonderful how it takes care of so many little critters. I also didn’t realize how “mean” those little hummers could be! We have a couple feeders out back but I haven’t seen them fighting! You’ve taken such beautiful photos! Have a fabulous weekend!

    1. Most hummers are peaceable, but there are always a handful in any group that are aggressive. They remind me of humans in this way. Thank you for your thoughtful comments Linda & be well my friend <3

  4. Great photos and impressive information, Cindy! What color does the century plant’s flowers turn in full bloom? And when it dies, do you have to dig it up?

    1. You are seeing the blooms. They last for several months and are yellowish-white. After the bloom, the stalk and the base which looks like a cactus and is around 10 feet in diameter will both die and the plant must be dug up which is a big job. Juvenile offspring surround the base and they will continue to grow.

  5. This is the very first time that I have heard about this magnificent tree! I learn something new every time I stop by for a visit. Brilliant photos!👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

    1. Exactly! And in this way, hummers who are hummers, and will always be hummers, show us the futility of human conflict. And they are much luckier than us, they can fly away.

  6. Learned something new again today. I knew hummers were very territorial but did not know about the tree. I used to have lots of feeders in my back yard and still they would fight over the nectar. Silly birds. Great photos, as always.

    1. Yes. You get it. But I am always so struck, the silly birds can fly away from us and be perfectly fine. Since I was a little kid, I didn’t get why they were so favored to be able to do this. I wish I could.

    1. You are a sweet man and I wish I could come and visit you. I would bring you food cooked at The Holler by yours truly, and flowers grown at The Holler by yours truly. But, I would know enough to ask you what you might like to eat. I can cook almost anything, and I would cook it for you.

    1. It is amazing. When it grows it’s flower so stalk suddenly, and spectacturaly, because it is going to die, you are amazed! It is such a beautiful swan song for every living thing.

  7. Pingback: Holler Hummers Battle The Centurion~ Cindy Knoke | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  8. Thank you so much. What a fabulous ‘nature story.’ The photography is outstanding, the humming birds adorable, despite their warring ways, and what a striking, unusual tree! x…

  9. That’s a seriously cool tree, to just have hanging around in the backyard. And to have a gang of hummers doing their aerial acrobatics amongst the blooms is just icing on the cake.

  10. This is fabulous, Cindy! Wonderful post. Your shots are wonderful–so crisp and clear. I didn’t know the hummers were “aggressive” about their source of nectar. Interesting.

  11. Our resident and migrating birds are already loading up for winter…. hmmm, mid-August? Seems a bit early, but many of our sunflowers went to seed two weeks ago. Nature must know something that the weather channel does not. – Oscar

  12. Knowing how quickly hummers zip around, Cindy I’m astounded at your skill as a photographer. Both the clarity and the compositions are amazing. I enjoyed learning about the centurion plants too. Hugs on the wing.

  13. These are stunning, Cindy. I have never moved quickly enough to get a single such photo. But today there was a rabbit lying out on our lawn, cosy as you please, not caring if we took a photo.

  14. Bonjour mon Ami , Amie ET BELLE CINDY

    Ma richesse est mon amitié
    C’est à toi que je la donne
    Elle est pour moi
    Un gage de bonne foi
    Accepte ce présent
    C’est le cadeau le plus important
    Qu’on puisse faire à notre époque
    C est avec ces petits mots que je passe te souhaiter
    Une bonne journée , une belle semaine et plein de bonnes choses au sein de ta demeure
    Gros bisous.

      1. Interesting observation, but we don’t have hummers and coyotes. Just read Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer. That was so close to perhaps the different kinds of rural folk here in our area of Spain. There were wolves here in the the 1950s but Franco pursued persecution policies. There are big cattle quintas on dehesa land, which at least keeps Spain well populated with trees.

        1. I thought there still were wolves in Spain about 2-3000. People even hunt them. I watched this movie a while back which is a fictional depiction of an earlier time in Spain with wolves and people living in the wild mountains that gave me an entirely different view of Spain than what I am accustomed to. I was fascinated by the mountain towns and started looking them up after the movie:

          1. Yes, the wolves are in Northern Portugal and Cantabria. A few in the eastern Sierra Morena around Jaen. I suppose I mean most other parts and our own region will have lived with wolves till not so long ago. On a recent trip to a cheese making the owner showed the wolf collars the great big Mastin dogs would wear. The use of these dogs is still encouraged in the North. No one asked the government for compensation then!

Leave a Reply