Sunday, June 01, 2008

Hummingbirds may be racists; finches may be sexist

In our limited experience and non-membership in the Audubon Society Bob and I have made the decision that it appears hummingbirds are racist and finches are sexist.
Some may say we have way too much time on our hands but it's what you do with the time that is important, right?

Let me give you some background. We have two hummingbird feeders, one off the back patio and one off the front porch.
There is a ruby throated hummingbird that I have named "little chit" instead of the other word. He has taken control of the back feeder.
He sits as a sentry on the chicken wire fence around the green bean plants from as early as 6:30 AM til dark. I mean, if someone needs to get a life, it's him. Seriously.

As soon as any other type hummingbird gets within 20 ft of that feeder he attacks them. It becomes an episode of Snoopy and the Red Baron.
He swoops in with racing speeds of up to 220 miles an hour (I admit I haven't actually clocked it) chasing away any other hummingbird, fly, bee or even a finch.
I have seen almost turf wars out on the patio; I might even be risking my life to do this research, I'm telling ya.
I think some of the Anna's are sort of on to little chit now though. This past week I've seen sometimes maybe 10 come in from different angles and fly around just to get him pi$$ed off.
He can't attack all of them at a time so it is amusing to watch. However, being on the patio while this is taking place can be hair raising or close to hair removing.
They swoop, swirl, sweep and make dive bombing strides at lil chit.

I have no opinion who is better, the Anna's or the ruby throated. I am only an observer.
I give kudos to lil chit for handling his turf so readily and without compromise.

However, the Anna's live by the motto originally made by Rodney King. You know the one, " why can't we all just get along"?
I see often 3-4 Anna's at the front feeder at a time. If even just one is feeding it doesn't get upset if another one comes by to feed. it almost seems the more the merrier in their little group of green chicks, I mean birds.
This is very scientific and I can only hope you appreciate the effort that went into this research; I know the Anna's are friendlier because science backs it up. The front feeder can empty in one day, the back one can take 3-4 days to empty.

Once in an occasional while the Anna's gang up and take over the back feeder for a little while( probably a clue the front feeder is empty now that I think about it). But don't think little chit is happy about it because he isn't-at all, and he makes himself clear.

Now, about the finches. We have taken the hard work away from all you who have to still get out to j-o-b everyday and don't have the time to research this as we do. No, really it's ok. OK, you're welcome!

Let me start with saying finches are one of the greediest animals I've met. You can fill a finch feeder and the next day it has to be filled again. Of course, if Lou next door would keep his filled maybe ours would last a few hours longer!

The real pretty yellow ones are males, right? Well, let me tell you someone needs to teach them about manners and how vinegar doesn't catch the worm or whatever the saying is.
Oh, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar and the early bird catches the worm. Sorry Mom, I didn't think I'd ever forget them. I must be getting old.

Anyway, I digress. That happens when you get old. you also get more gas. Wait a minute where am I going with this.
The finches. OK so the females which are the less pretty but I'm sure more stable of the two are sitting on the perches feeding, minding their own business. Along come a flock of bad boys all pumped on well, finch food I guess, cuz I haven't read about any on steroids yet pushing the womanz off their perches.
I mean come on fellas, these are your baby Mama's after all.

Some females are passive and will just go to a nearby branch and wait their turn but there are a few that must be the bitches because they put up a fight. They get their wings in the way and move around and squawk like there's no tomorrow. I cheer them on.
Like who do those fellas think they are; I mean they aren't that and a bag of chips you know. If you've seen one or two you've seen them all in my opinion. I mean yeah, they're cute, tiny and all that yellow but come on.

Now some other late breaking news: our quail couple has given birth to 14 babies this week. They are just adorable. Mom struts first in line and clucks. then each of the babies follows and Dad brings up the rear.
Bob observed them a couple days ago. Dad was hanging around the garage clucking and finally went inside. Out comes JR running his tiny little 1/16 of an inch legs off. Dad kept shooing him back to the covey.
All total they couldn't be even an inch tall. Just as cute as you want them to be.

A couple weeks ago we had a Mama doe give birth to twin fawns. I have yet to see them but a couple neighbors right near the woods have. The woods id a couple doors down from me in the back. I did see Mama right after birth hunting up some grub but didn't know why she was out there. She was in the neighbors behind me yards eating branches and anything else she could get her teeth on or into. From the time line when I saw however we calculated she had just given birth. I guess I would be pretty hungry too if I were her.

So, that's springtime here in Oroville so far. Hope yours is just as rewarding as ours have been.