Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The War At Home...

No, no, all the family members are actually getting along quite well. The War is taking place outside.

We have had hummingbirds in the past but nothing compared to this year. I have 3 feeders available however they tend to prefer the one in the front (maybe it is the flower shapes on the side.) Anyway, they will drain this feeder in less than 24 hours. The other ones have been up for weeks and are just hitting the halfway mark.

Usually a single female stakes out the front, running off any intruders however the number of competing birds is so great, that as she chases one off, 2 or 3 more will sneak in for a drink. I have see up to 7 birds at one time at the feeder.

In the evenings, Jed and I will sit on the porch about 3 feet away and watch them. It can be dangerous though, with how fast they zoom around. Over the weekend I had just finished filling the front feeder when a female flew up. I was just a foot away. I froze as she checked it out. She looked me for a moment and as if shrugging her shoulder, proceeded with her snack. I was even able to get a nose scratch in there without disturbing her.

I have also pulled the camera out to see if I could get a decent picture. The first day was disastrous. Very blurry and grainy. I did a little research the next day and started using the flash. Much better results. Here are the two best ones from yesterday.

This first one is the female who has claimed the front feeder (I think, there are so many females it is hard to tell them apart.) It has taken me almost a week before I finally found the right settings on the camera to get a non-blurry wing picture.

The second one is the male that has claimed the feeder on the side of the house. He is much more territorial and will not let anyone feed at all. He likes to sit at the top of a nearby pine tree or even in the middle of my Rose of Sharon bush. From my chair in the living room, I can often spot him hidden in the middle of the bush protecting both the feeder and the flowers. Greedy little thing. He is also known to sneak to the front feeder (as pictured here).

I'll probably be outside again tomorrow trying to get a picture of multiple birds at once. It might help if I could track down my tripod.

(note to self: buy more hummingbird food on the way home today)