Thursday, June 30, 2011


I was very lucky the other day to spot something I have never seen in all my years of Hummingbird watching.

I was heading towards the house from the shed when I saw what I thought was a Hummer suicide attempt.

The little fellow flew straight up in the air at incredible speed then hung in mid-air for a second at the top of a very high arc. He was just a speck. Then he dove straight for the ground in an apparent attempt to end it all.  Just feet from the ground, he pulled up and zoomed toward the sky again.

I had no idea what I was seeing but I continued to watch. I was not the only one watching. From her perch on the feeder, his dives were admired by a sweet young thing that I swear I could see smiling.

Not sure this is same pair but these two did a nice reenactment of the initial meeting for me  after 58 throw away shots of at least 50 different birds.  

He then flew in confidently and sat near her on the perch. He ruffled his glorious ruby throat and it glistened in the sun. I could swear I heard the Hummingbird equivalent to,  "Hello there, I'm Mr. Right. Someone said you were looking for me."

Her back was to me so I didn't see her response. What I did see was the red necked Lothario, leave his perch, hover over her back side, and drop down for a whopping few seconds on her behind.

He took her right at the dinner table and I am not sure she even quit slurping nectar during the process.   In about 3 seconds, he was finished  and flew off to spread his seed elsewhere. And I thought bunnies were fast.

That was it folks. A little showing off with some high dives, a quickie, then he goes off to play with some new female  and she is now a single mother. Yikes.

When you look at the whole picture, male Hummingbirds have atrocious table manners. They  are always quarreling pushing and shoving. Their love making is pretty close to date rape and they are no-show fathers. They want no part of being a parent. For some reason, this seems to work for the species.

Even with all that going against the little dudes, I am still enamoured with the adorable little rascals and am totally forgiving (probably since I am not a female Hummer).

Those little red necked lovers really rely on cute carrying them past bad behavior.  Works for me as long as it is only a tiny bird behaving badly and not a member of the human species trying such antics.  Then cute carries no weight. 

Needless to say, I have scratched lady Hummingbird off my list as a creature to come back as.

So if you ever see a Hummer taking a high altitude dive, stick around for a second and don't blink. You may get to witness what I did.


  1. What a wonderful spectacle, and beautifully described for someone who's never seen one. Thankyou Sue

  2. I always thought I wanted to come back as a German Shepherd, but maybe a hummingbird wouldn't be so bad.

  3. Wow, great shot of the Hummingbird pair on the bird feeder. We've witnessed some pretty poor behavior by Doves on our bird feeder. Not the love-em-and-leave-em kind, but the I'm-kicking-you-off-the-bird-feeder-because-I-want-your-spot kind. Who knew birds acted that way? On the other hand, we've had devoted Blue Jay couples that have come back for years.

  4. Yes, we have been seeing similar "dives" and "take offs" from these tiny creatures, around our back deck.

    I've also seen one do a sideways type flying, back and forth, like a pendulum. During this sort of flying/dancing, the little guy made a constant "zit-zit" sound. That's how I can explain what I saw.

    During all this show, there was I, holding my camera pointed to the feeder, waiting to see if he would get thirsty and come for a drink. Nah! I gave up.

    He had other things in mind. Now I know...

    Have a great day, Patti!

  5. The American Woodcock carry on with a similar though more spiraling dive. Plus peet peet buzzzz. :) Ah love makes the world....

  6. That is a spectacular picture, so what if it took dozens to get it, it's great! And I have a little female hummer who visits my flowers but I understand that the males fight for territory, even to the death, so I'm reluctant to hang up any feeders. Great story, I loved it!

  7. Patti, I just love your posts they are amazing. Speaking of amazing that shot you got of the hummers is double no, triple amazing. As always you gave me some giggles. What better way to begin my day. I love little hummers but I would not want to be one. Hugs! Give Mighty some nose kisses for us.

  8. WOW, this is great and so timely for me. Great job, Patti. I put out my hummingbird feeders and maybe I've had some and maybe not. Never saw them but I'm not watching much either. I planted all kinds of flowers to attract them, too. I'll have to watch more closely and see what I can see. Thanks.

  9. Wonderful story, Patti! You had me laughing out loud at the "slurping nectar" line. They are fun little birds to watch. Loved your photo, that is a great shot.

  10. Well this sexual encounter is really amusing. Life does imitate itself to some extent.

    I always wonder what prostitutes think--Hurry up and pay so I can go out and have a steak?

    Oh well, back to landscaping. We are making stone paths today. not me as I just and CT scan for stress fracture from last fall. XRay showed nothing. I have heriditary osteporosis in a serious way.

    I checked on the Dwarf Burford Holly berries being poisonous. Only in large amounds like Ilex holly pie...hA HA; that was the article's writer's humor. Apparently they are deer resistant because of sharp leaves.

    One or two berries might cause mild gastritis. Anyway none are going inside Luckies yard. and she is not allowed off leash in front yard. Our street is too busy.

  11. I'm pretty sure I have seen similar behavior in the human species. :)

    An Arkies Musings

  12. I wish we had hummingbirds here in the UK. What a wonderful story. :D

    I love the photo too. I tried to take some shots of hummingbirds when we were last in the States but I was never fast enough. :D

  13. Men are men no matter the species.

  14. Hi Patti,

    You crack me up! What a cool blog post. I have never even seen one sit still before like Ms. Lady Greenback. Who knows, maybe that's is her signal that she's in the mood? Dinner and a show, really, who could ask for more? LOL.

    I can't help but wondering how tiny hummingbird eggs are now. I'd never even considered that question before now. Great pictures!

    Have a wonderful day,

    Kathy M.

  15. Well now that's another loser dad. But that you got to watch the quickie is really something.
    Thanks for coming by. Hubby is forced to use the outdoors when he gets his cigar urge. He had sopped in '85 but 2 years ago he restarted with an occasional and that lead to the latest daily thing! UGH!!

  16. I have seen the males display like that. They are pretty spectacular. Never have seen them mate though. I think they do everything pretty fast. Their hearts beat a crazy 250 beats a minute, at rest!

  17. What a hummer! Men gotta love'm!

  18. I have watched hummingbirds on our deck for the past 18 years and never witnessed anything that didn't look like hummingbirds fighting to be sole occupant at the feeder. Now I will watch more closely to satisfy my bird voyeurism.

  19. I just love hummingbirds. They don't come to my house, so I think you're lucky. Right now, I'm thinkin that I want to come back as one of my spoiled dogs. My Sophie is soooo spoiled rotten. Yep, that sounds pretty good to me...she sleeps, goes to the dog park, walks, had a covered deck with fans to watch squirrels, eats her food when no treats are available, and gets to go bye bye and to the farm...aaaah a dogs life!

  20. Wonderful post, Patti! How great that you had the curiosity, the time and the patience to observe the whole event. It made me wonder how many things we never see because we rush on by. Your post taught a lesson far beyond this redneck romance!

  21. But maybe in their world he is not behaving badly---Just doing the "Mating Dance" as Hummingbirds Do...? No, it's not exactly romantic by "people" standards, but in The World Of Hummingbirds---Just Perfect!

    GREAT PICTURE. my dear!!!!

  22. Lucky you to witness a hummerbird lovestory! Nature ia always surprising and interesting and you have an eye for it! Thanks for this wonderful story.
    The storm I told you about was worse in other places of our country. Some houses were flooded and others were damaged by big trees fallen on their roofs. Then we had been lucky compared to them.

  23. That's known as a 'Hummingbird Courtship Dive'...for real Patti! Google it!

  24. So funny! I knew they were fiercely territorial but I didn't know about their bedroom antics. :) blessings, marlene

  25. LOVED YOUR POST!! I got an email today with pictures of a lady who hummingbirds got so accustomed to that they sat on her hand & fed from a dish she was holding. If you send me your email address I'll forward it to you.

  26. Amazing! We don't seem to be attracting them this year for some reason. I thought they came back a little too early, then it turned pretty chilly for about a week, so perhaps they headed back south a little further then where we live. One year we had about four or five constantly flying around, and you could even hear them sort of making that little chattering noise they make. They are fun to watch. Beautiful snapshot.

  27. Love your post title; very appropriate. :)

    I've never seen any courting display from hummers. In fact, this summer, I've seen very few hummers at all. I finally took down the feeder in my back yard because the only things that visited were wasps and bees. Perhaps "my" hummers are at your place. Enjoy!

  28. What an interesting post and great photo ...I have never seen a live humming bird your description of the courtship ...if you could call it that.

  29. sue,
    Thanks. I hope you get the chance. It is a trip.

    Better put in the request to be a "Male" hummer. Females--not so hot.

    Isn't it odd how some birds are devoted mates and others have no manners.

    Sounds like you were seeing courting behaviors. Feeding comes after.

    I have never seen an American Woodcock. Sounds like they have a better display.

    Thank you, it sure took a while. I have never seen any more than rude pushing and shoving at the feeders. Didn't know that the males could get violent.

    Thank you, I sure have changed my desire to be able to hover.

    Hope you get to see the behavior. It is pretty wild. I have honeysuckle for them but they like to fill up in the morning and evening at the feeders.

    Thanks and glad you enjoyed. They sure aren't boring to watch with all the flitting about.

    So glad you checked on the Hollys and the Luckie can't get any of the berries.They really are pretty, especially around Christmas.

    Sadly, you are right.

    LLCool Joe,
    Thanks Joey. They are hard to capture for they move so darn quick.

    With some exceptions.

    Oregon gifts,
    Ha, ha, you are right. I did underestimate the fellow. He did provide dinner and a show at least. The eggs have to be miniscule.


    Thanks, it was interesting. So glad he is an outside smoker for your sake.

    Wow, wonder what his heart rate was during that 3 seconds.

    They are pretty consistant huh, with some major exceptions.

    Voyeurism. That was the word I was looking for. I did feel a bit creepy watching :))

    Sorry you don't get any hummers. They are a trip to watch. A dog's life--most of the time-- is pretty good.It would be my luck to end up at the pound with a pitiful face.

    Dr. Kathy McCoy,
    Thank you. I am fairly cat like in my curosity and since I am retired, I always have the time.

    Pretty sure the lady hummers are OK with not having any help raising the young. Other wise they would be carrying little signs in protest.

    REader Wil,
    Thank you Wil. I am so glad that as bad as it was, you missed the brunt of the storm. This has been a rough year.

    Thanks. As soon as I witnessed the act, I did google it to be sure what I was seeing. Sure do love computers.

    Until the other day, neither did I.

    Thank you. I have those pictures saved in my drafts. It came through my email a while back. I wish I had the patience to do what she did. Awesome.

    I don't have my usual amount either. Last year I put out 2 quarts of nectar a day, now it lasts for several days. Wonder if the high winds all over didn't hurt the population.

    I just mentioned that to Patty. Do you suppose all the high winds we have had hurt the hummers? They are so fragile. I hope not.

  30. This is just the best thing you've written. Cracked me up, and here I sit all alone laughing out loud. Great!

  31. Patti - What a great post - I'm smiling ear to ear! I once saw two eagles mating in a mid-air nose dive. I guess bird romance is different from human (thank goodness).

  32. Great story - I'll have to keep my eyes wide open next time I see those little hummingbirds. I just had the opportunity to see five small fox running around in my driveway! That was fun!

  33. My goodness! My birds and bees sessions didn't cover hummers.

    I'm always amazed at how a hummingbird feeder can have five or six stations but they'll duke it out rather than belly up to the bar with another one.

  34. Your excellent observations are great lessons for us all.

  35. That was hilarious! Crazy, cute little birdies!

  36. Patti,

    Similar things are going on Down Under--check out
    Funny that you have such similar posts about such different birds!

  37. We have hummingbirds every year in our backyard. They are so fun to watch! The most excitement we've had is when one hit the window once. That was back in the days when I actually had time to wash my windows...

  38. Lovely description Patti, and fascinating too. The native pigeon here has a great courtship flight too. They are at the opposite end of the scale as far as weight goes. I guess they must be almost the size of a bantam hen, and they will eat and eat and eat and eat all day until they can't really fly at all if they find a tree full of berries that appeals to them. These birds will dive down into a valley from quite a height sometimes, then pull up and up until they actually stop in the air pointed vertical. Then they pitch down head first and repeat the swooping dive. It is quite a sight.

  39. Oh that is too hilarious! You are such an amazing writer. What a fun post! I wish we had hummers in Hawaii. I think I've only seen them a handful of times in my life.

  40. Haha, this is great Patti! I totally agree with marciamayo!
    Men are men are men are men.....

  41. When we move from the southern states to the north in the spring I'm always anxious for the hummers to follow so we can once again watch their antics. My feeder attaches to our dining room window so we can watch the little guys as we eat. They are a continual source of entertainment, although we have never seen the courting ritual up close and personal as you have.

  42. Angie,
    Pretty sure he called it courting, not sure what she called it.

    Thanks, it was a learning event.

    So glad you liked it and it found your funny bone. It tickled me also when I saw it.

    Thanks, though I have met a few guys with that same approach. Didn't work for them however.

    Thanks and I really envy you your foxes. I love those creatures.

    Actually as the season progresses, they seem to understand there are other seats. I have had all stations filled but not long enough to film.

    Retired English Teacher,
    It is just my curosity and desire to stop moving at any second that brought me that strange sight.

    Janie B,
    I am so glad you enjoyed. I sure did.

    Patricia K. Lichen,
    Thanks, I checked out that link and she has a very interesting site. I bookmarked her.

    Mom of 12,
    God bless you. With what you have on your plate, clean windows would be my last concern. In fact with no kids, windows are my last concern.

    That sounds like the big bird version of the hummer dance. At least your birds are easier to see.

    I am surprised, if I were a hummer I head right for the islands. They are funny little creatures to watch.

    I think all guys would be like that if they thought they could get away with it. Evidently there is no such thing as child support in hummer land.

    RV Vagabonds,
    Too bad they can't hitch a ride with you when you head north. Sure would save wear and tear on tiny wings.

  43. You can hook me for hours with Hummer stories. I plant Fuchsia every year, just for them.

    One year I confused a moth we have around here with hummingbirds. Hovered just like them and almost the same size. I will remember his name later. They are very common in MD just north of me and Maryland Public Television had just done a special nature show on them which I happened to see and quickly recognized in my garden. No, they aren't Gypsy Moths. Darn I will think of it later. Hmmm.

    PS love your Hummers and Hummer story. You must be just off the central flyway in Arkansas.

  44. I will keep that in mind! I have a feeder on my deck and get great pleasure in watching them fight over it sometimes.

    For such little guys, they certainly are intense!!!



  45. Hi There, So glad to get home and back to blogging. We did have a fabulous trip--but home is pretty nice also!!!!!

    Funny hummingbird story..

    Hope you do get to travel out west sometime.. It's gorgeous.

  46. She went right on slurping nectar???

    HOW rude!!

  47. Hey sweetie you made my day! Oh how I laughed when I read this post.
    You know I love the way u tell things and so sad but we do have many hummingbirds in the human society. Once reason our government is broke. Did I say that out loud.
    Have a great weekend
    Love ya

  48. This is awesome. I love your description. . .so funny! You've reminded me to get my hummingbird feeder back out on my porch. I love watching the little boogers, but never saw the, er, dating/mating ritual. Thanks for the (hilarious) play-by-play.

  49. schmidleysscribblins,
    I must be in the path for I have about 50 each year. This year has been a bit slow with about half that amount.
    I think you mean the Sphinx Moth also called the Hummingbird Moth. I had one fool me at first also.

    Yes, "intense" aptly describes all their activities. They wear me out.

    So glad you are back and had such a wonderful trip. Maybe someday---

    Ha--Perhaps he just didn't make that big of an impression to make her quit slurping:))

    Grandma Yellow Hair,
    So glad you enjoyed and yes--you did say that out loud. "Hummer" might be a good name to call people who aren't behaving very well. "That person is a real Hummer."

    Thank you--so glad you liked it. I do hope you get to see the action. Don't blink.

  50. I used to have tons of hummingbirds at my last place because of all the flowers and I would see them dive and the males squabble over territory, but never saw them mate. I once saw a hummingbird nest too. And many times if I had a tshirt on that had bright wording on the front I'd have them fly right up to my chest as if looking for a flower, shocking really, they can stop in mid air like that. What a great photo of the two of them, Happy Fourth to you.

  51. great story.. loved the pic..

  52. Ha...that's it, the Sphynx moth. Dontcha love the name even if I can't spell it?

  53. The naturalist Patti...Good observation. You were also a fast study but where was your camera when the deed was being done? If this was fishing I would say no picture? No fish or in this case no picture? No fornicating.

  54. I saw you were from AR. I'm an AR blogger. I'm 63 and I live in Russellville. I'm a new follower to you lovely blog. Doylene

  55. Linda Starr,
    I have had a face to face like that also. They get so close and don't seem to believe you are not a flower.

    Yea--Glad you could make it Sis. I see you got it working. Thanks.

    Wish I could say I knew that off hand but I had to google it.

    Come on GQ. Even if I had a camera I couldn't post that picture as this is a daytime blog, well sometimes. he he:))Seriously, I was outside and the whole process after the dives took seconds. Just no time. You will have to trust me.

    A Gracious Home,
    Welcome to TNS. I always love to meet Arkansans. I am relatively new to the state and just love it and its people. I will pop over to return the visit.

  56. Thanks for your visit! Did you have any more visits of the newly weds?

  57. Reader Wil,
    Pretty sure he has moved on to another young lady. They don't hang around to help raise the young.

  58. You just cannot trust males in any form! ;)

  59. Lynda G
    Definitely not these little varmints anyway.