Monday, October 10, 2005

Hummingbird Battle

It was the warm San Diego sun that beckoned me to the outdoors and, specifically, to my hammock. My home is so sheltered by trees and foliage that it stays very cool and actually feels chilly at times. So I couldn't resist setting my computer work aside to take a quick catnap in the sunny warmth outside. My hammock is hard to resist . . . it is soooo comfortable with a feather pillow under my head and a glass of iced tea. I lost track of the number of times that is has proven to be "the place" to take a short refreshing nap or just relax to relieve some built-up stress. I don't think I could survive as well as I do without it. The other great thing about the hammock is that it rests on my deck about 4-5 feet from one of my hummingbird feeders. I just lay quietly in the hammock and get some wonderful views of the irridescent little gems that come to feast on the nectar. Ah, the best of both worlds . . . lots of comfort and some great bird watching.

Today, as I lay in the hammock getting my dose of Vitamin D for the day from the sun, I witnessed a true hummingbird battle. Now it isn't unusual for the hummers to be chasing each other away from the feeders . . . each trying to assert their dominance over it. But today, the sound of clashing beaks startled me and opened my eyes to witness two hummers battling about 4 feet away. It was an amazing demonstration of how aggressive these little guys can be with each other. The battle only lasted for a few seconds but it seemed longer as I watched them fly at each other repeatedly to do their little sword-like battle. It ended in seconds without injury (as most bird aggression does) when one of the birds finally decided to fly off to a nearby tree. Of course, that was only momentary, too . . . as a few seconds later he was back to chase the other bird away from the feeder.

There are a number of hummers that come to my feeders regularly. I can identify some of them by their habits as well as their species and markings. They seem like old friends . . . and in a way they are. The two most common visitors are Black-chinned (summer visitors, although they are still here now in early October) and Anna's who stay in the San Diego area year-round. I'm fortunate to have at least one species here all the time, so I always keep my
feeders full.

My style of hammock-oriented hummingbird watching is just the ticket for me. You might find it fun, too.

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