Hummingbird Guarding the Feeder

I’ve been watching a female ruby-throat hummingbird guard a feeder outside my kitchen window. She has been there even as Tropical Storm Lee was causing her perch to sway in the wind, at least up to maybe 20 mph or so before she would leave her spot. She thinks the feeders is all hers. There is a male who wants to eat and she chases him away. Sometimes when she is on guard she looks this way and that so she won’t be surprised by his approach.

While ago she was sitting about six inches from the feeder when he landed on it. I guess she let her mind wander. When she saw him she began to move her head from side to side and also fluffed her wing feathers out a bit. It reminded me of how my cat has done that – the head movement, he’s weird but he doesn’t have feathers – when we are playing. It makes him look like a snake with dilated eyes and it sort of creeps me out. I’ve never ever seen a hummingbird move its head like that. I had no idea they had any kind of menacing warning. I’ve only see them zoom off in the direction of the intruder to chase it away.

I guess he wasn’t impressed with her gyrations and feather fluffing. He was too busy eating to worry about threats. She had to zoom off and chase him away to gain control of her feeder again.

By the way, the hummingbirds need for those of us in Texas to keep a fresh supply of nectar out for them. The flowers where they normally dine aren’t quite so abundant right now. In case you are new to feeding them, the ratio is 1/4 cup of white sugar to each cup of water. Bring it to a boil then remove it from the heat and let it cool before filling the feeders. I usually mix a few cups and freeze the extra.

I hope y’all are enjoying the birds!

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