Sunday, May 13, 2012

Feeder Warfare, part I

A knock-down, drag-out fight between two juvenile males circa 2005.

Today I awoke to discover a fierce battle going on between what was apparently Green Light and at least two other hummingbirds.  I stepped into the fray with my camera, though getting shots of the frenzied action was nearly impossible.  No quarter was given as even I was used as a strategic perch by familiar and unfamiliar hummingbird alike.  Facing off in mid air, they dove at each other like flying, feathered, dagger tipped torpedoes.

As the day wore on and the fighting continued, my concerns for Green Light grew. He was getting beat up, though he seemed to be winning and was now only fighting one other bird.  I hated the thought of him possibly losing the fight, leaving his territory and leaving me to train a new hummingbird.  As the fighting drew down to a stalemate, hunger became an issue.  Neither bird would allow the other to take from the feeder.  

By around 6:30pm I thought of an experiment to hopefully break the deadlock.  Knowing that Green Light was trained to go to the flowers I presented him, I put a red tulip on the deck rail hoping he would come to it.  He did.  With the other hummingbird behind me and unable to see what was happening, I guided Green Light to the feeder 3 feet to my right and let him feed.  I won't soon forget his desperate attempts to get food from beneath the flower, being too afraid to "go over the top" lest he be dived upon by his rival.
Green Light when he first went to the flower.  He was quickly attacked by his foe.
As the sun set I left the flower on the rail for a time and Green Light managed to get over to it 2 or 3 times.  This allowed me to get some pics of him.  Later, when I was able to view them, they revealed that Green Light had indeed taken a beating, suffering some sort of damage to the right side of his face (though I have no idea how serious it was - see pic below).  When I left the two of them at around 7:20pm, they were still fighting and would continue until dark.

To be continued...
Green Light showing some damage to his face.

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Blogger Will Brady said...

That's pretty exciting stuff! I'm rooting for Green Light. Look forward to the next set of details

5/13/2012 9:52 PM  

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