When we were still living in Grass Valley we stopped feeding the birds. We had been feeding them for a decade, but the bears and raccoons finally made it impossible to keep at it. They smashed and crashed every feeder we hung. So, with some sadness we watched the birds come looking for food and fly away, come back and look again, and then fly away. It took a while but they stopped coming. The year we were in the rental here in Arcata, we didn't feed any birds and had no plans to start up again. Then we bought the house.
the house came with a hummingbird feeder. A very nice one. I knew I
should have just taken it down and not start up again with such madness. But the hummers came by with their flashy iridescent greens and reds
and literally chatted me up with their insistent tweets, "Fill this
feeder. Fill this feeder." Okay, okay I gave in.
two months all went well. When we were out of town for two weeks at my
mom's a friend came and refilled the feeder for us. She loved it so much,
she went out and bought a feeder for her yard. Life was sweet with the
buzz of wings and the flash and dash of color. I loved knowing that our
friend was feeding birds in her yard too. Kindness has its rewards.
the weather changed. The rains came. The temperatures dropped to the
40s, and the winds blew. I noticed that one hummingbird decided the
feeder was his and only his. I never liked those arrogant birds who
won't let another bird eat. They just sit there right where the feeder
hangs and nastily chase off any other bird that approaches. What little
jerks they are. I went out there to talk some sense into this one,
reason with it about the wisdom of sharing. It literally flew up in the
air and tried to chase me back into the house. I had a good laugh. But
this behavior makes me want to take the feeder in the house and tell
that little bird to "buzz off."
A lot of the online
discussions about selfish hummingbird behavior suggest getting
another feeder and hanging it far enough away so the tyrant can't reign
over both. That is not what I am going to do. We did that in Grass Valley and a second tyrant took over the new feeder kingdom. I have no solution other than
glaring out the window and shaking my fist at a bird that has absolutely
no idea what I'm talking about, and quite frankly couldn't care less.
Jerk. Oh wait! I just realized that I do have a solution, and it's a very nice one. We're going to plant a garden full of flowers that hummingbirds will love, and not one tyrant will be able to lay claim to. Imagine a yard full of perennials, like bee balms, columbines,
daylilies, and lupines; biennials like foxgloves and hollyhocks; and annuals like cleomes, impatiens, and petunias. It will be a hummingbird paradise! Thank you, little crazy one, for reminding me of the sane way to go. Ah flower power!