Friday, June 5, 2009

The featherweights

Our resident hummingbirds have arrived. We've had a steady stream of transients since April, but I can always tell when the nesting birds are here, because that's when the fighting starts. The hummers' aerial combat puts the best wire-fu epic to shame, and they're always eager to mix it up. Males fight males, as you'd expect, but the battles often involve both sexes. Hummingbirds have no sense of chivalry. Unlike many other birds, the male hummers don't court prospective girlfriends with gifts of food. They'll drive their mates, and even their own offspring, away from a feeder. It's a little hard to understand how this dedication to selfishness promotes the survival of the species, but the little guys seem to be doing just fine.

Photo by Joe Schneid from Wikimedia Commons.

1 comment:

chayaruchama said...

Is chivalry dead ?

Perhaps, among the hummingbirds.....

How they fascinate me, nontheless.
Marvelous observation, and photo.