Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Beauty is NOT Goodness

Everyone is charmed and delighted by the delicate form, acrobatic flight and soft trilling song of the hummingbird. They are so tiny and cute, their wings beat so fast, they like pretty flowers…ad infinitum.

I must admit, I too was always partial to hummingbirds as a child and yes, as an adult. When we went camping, my Dad always put up a hummingbird feeder so we could watch them drink the pretty red sugar-water. As they would wheel and spin, dive and dart, the hum generated by their wings was surprising as they would buzz past your head to wait their turn in line for the nectar provided. At times it looked like the Moscow Ballet with all the tiny forms whizzing around the stage, hovering, pirouetting, following each other in strings of three or four off stage right or stage left, with a few prima donnas seeming to get all the open space and sweet stuff. I guess I never paid that much attention to the real action.

My folks have a hummingbird feeder at their house just outside the back window that overlooks the garden. When I go for a visit in the afternoons on Saturday or Sunday, we sit and talk, look at the garden, and watch the hummers.

From my observation, these are the most self-centered, belligerent, pushy, greedy and ill-tempered birds that ever took wing. Ounce for ounce (I’d venture to say that it usually takes two to make a full ounce) they are the most aggressive bird out there. If they were fish, I would give a great white shark a two-to-one weight advantage over the hummingbird/fish and still put my money on the hummer.

If they were as big as even a mockingbird, they would no doubt be deadly, and the government would likely put a bounty on them. Mean little things.

I have watched a single bird expend the energy equivalent to a gallon of gasoline guarding a free source of food. He will sit on a branch six feet from the feeder, and dare any other creature, be it fowl or insect, to sip even a molecule of the nectar. He buzzes down on them like he was shot from a gun, diving and chasing like his tail is on fire. He even bullied a bumblebee away from the sacred feeder one day. When another hummingbird even flies by, he launches from his perch like a Sidewinder missile. Once the interloper has been dispensed with, the foul little fowl has to come check the level in the glass vial containing the precious red sugar water, flying all the way around, eyeballing the quantity. He then takes a long drink, occasionally pulling back to scan the area for bogeys. Another sip, then back to his perch to continue his bitter little vigil.

When my oldest daughter was two or three, she would correct anyone using the proper terminology, “hummingbird”, by saying sternly, “HONEYbird”…

She was wrong on a couple of different levels. DEVILbird would be more accurate.

14 comments:

DammitWomann said...

LOL Big Time........I also like hummingbirds and have noticed how territorial they can be. They still are fun to watch. You get bonus points though for describing their antics so eloquently.

Honeybird vs. Devil Bird ???

aA said...

Yes Womann! I have often wished that i could understand their calls, but now i think i would blush instead! I'll bet they have some bad tempers and language to match.

Anonymous said...

aA,
I guess its okay when the cat catches one every now and then...even in front of a crowd.
Sis

Anonymous said...

I too have noticed how interesting these birds are, but now I'll have to think twice about them thanks to your observations. I agree with dammitwoman, so articulate and well-expressed!

Btw, such a perfect and deep title! Well done! ;)

invigilator_tex said...

They remind me of humans vying for free ice, water and MRE's at a POD after a hurricane.

Des said...

HONEY BIRD

Howlsatmoon said...

Ol'Wollf put up a feeder right above the settee on my back deck. I love to relax after work sitting under it, watching their dance and beauty....and then their amazing ability to dodge bee bees.....ahh, relaxing.

*Kidding....no tail stomping, DW*

DammitWomann said...

"dodge bee bees"

? ? ? ? ?

Wollf !!! They are things of beauty - NOT targets for gosh sake.


*STOMP STOMP*
So howz that feel Lupine Louse !

aA said...

Hey Wollf, Bumble Bees, BB's, what's the diff? They both sting, but the BB's don't affect you as long as the Bumble Bees' sting!

Besides, they's as hard to hit as BATS with a BB!

DammitWomann said...

So .... aa ...........

You need to pick a side.

MIne (if you're smart)
or
Wollfs (the mean wollf)

aA said...

Woman: I was AGAINST shooting at hummingbirds before I was FOR shooting at hummingbirds...and let me just say that in the whole scheme of things one hummingbird getting pinned for bragging rights is worth all the expended steel BBs wasted in the trying. And that could run into the thousands.

The street cred is invaluable. I've never made it, and I stopped trying 29 years ago.

DammitWomann said...

HUH?

Howlsatmoon said...

Street Cred....from the Urban Dictionary.....
1. your "coolness" factor
2. imaginary "points" you get when you do something cool
1. Oh snap, I just punched that guy in the face--*plus 1 street cred*
2. Oh snap, you just got punched in the face--*minus 1 street cred*

Never have gotten one either....if I did.....whoo doggies, some Cubs and a certain Dragn would disown me.....

DammitWomann said...

Wollf - are you following me?