Monday, August 22, 2005

Wild Behavior

I put up a hummingbird feeder this year. I have never had one before. And I must say I did not fully appreciate these little dudes until this year. A more marvelous and fascinating creature one will not find on the face of the earth. I love to watch them. They come in at breakneck speed, hover, feed, and dart off almost as quickly as they fly in. The acceleration is awesome to behold.

God seems to have created them to be fearless. I can be standing five feet away and they'll come diving in for some food. If you don't have a feeder, it's a great investment, because I guarantee they will entertain you.

I have the feeder about five feet off the ground, and one of the first encounters I had with them is a little embarrassing to admit, but here goes. I was squatted down on the ground below the feeder pulling weeds, when all of a sudden I hear a quite loud buzzing noise come swooping down overhead. Thinking it to be a wasp or giant bumble bee, I quickly swatted blindly (I know, stupid idea) over my head and took off running like a scared little girl. When I turned back around, I saw the bird, suspended in midair, feeding out of one of the holes on the feeder. And I'm not sure, but I think hummingbirds can laugh, because he sure seemed to be enjoying himself at my expense.

At any rate, last night, as I am watering the lawn, I look out over the spray coming out of the top of the sprinkler and see a hummingbird (no doubt one of my regulars) float in to check it out. So he floats above the spray for a moment, and then dives down in to the water, where he continues to hover while being wet down. Like he's taking a shower or something. He hangs there for about 10 or 15 seconds, and then darts up and on to a tree limb. Of course he looks like a speck to me sitting on the limb, but I can definitely make him out. And it's like he is relaxing after his little shower. If I had some opera glasses, I would have probably seen him in a smoking jacket enjoying a cigar or something.

So, I ask, is this normal behavior for a hummingbird? Or am I just in the presence of a show-off?

(By the way, to tie in to a post from last week, Hummingbirds would be a cool team nickname.)

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