Monday, June 13, 2011

Another type of guardian

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of a pair of donkeys, wanting to talk about donkeys as guardians. Today it's the hummers. My photo isn't that clear... but this little fellow was caught in mid- May where he perches at a strategic spot in the lilac bushes before they were fully opened.

His attention is on one particular feeder. But he has placed himself so that he can guard two others as well that are close by.

Since I learned early that "hummer wars" begin as soon as the feeders are placed outside, regardless of whether a female is around or not, I've begun putting out three so everyone gets a chance... not that it's particularly necessary this year with the abundance of flowers in my garden and shrubs, let alone the surrounding countryside.

Hummers with their territorial behaviour never fail to amuse me and delight at the same time. I love to watch them in their arcing flight when they make great swinging passes at another hummer they think is a threat, or one they are trying to impress to become a mate. I enjoy the loud buzz that occurs when they do their aerial tricks nearby. Sometimes I don't see them these days when the trees are all leafed out, but hear them? oh my yes. Especially when I bring a feeder filled with new juice...a hum of satisfaction, definitely!

The raccoons tossed a hummer feeder from the tree I'd placed it on, forgetting to bring it in last night. Fortunately it wasn't damaged, but the hummer let me know it wasn't pleased that I was late with its food... a little ruby-throated male which patrols endlessly.

They become like friends. Birds that is.

I can tell the difference in blue jay calls. I have three ravens that hang about, each with a different guttural sound to their voices as they pass by - calling a greeting - I swear. Not so easy to differentiate the twittering and warbling of the golden pennies - American goldfinches, and the burbles from the house and purple finches.. though the purple finch is the more melodic I think of all. And then there are the buzzings from the meadowlark rising from the deep grassy nest until it perches and sings... what a lovely clear ripple of music from that pretty bird's throat. And the grosbeaks - their songs are equal to the orioles'. I even love the laugh from various woodpeckers who sometimes cackle raucously, other times just kack-kack away as they hop up the telephone pole or a tree trunk.

It's so often a joyous chorus outside my doors, interrupted by the busy hums of the tiniest of them all as they zoom from blossom to feeder to watch post. Much nicer to me than the city traffic, but I guess I was born a country girl, even if I lived in cities for part of my life. And I have many city-dwelling friends who also love birds and comment on the glorious songs come spring. We're all so fortunate.

Hope there's a song for you out there today!

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