Monday, September 14, 2020

I'M FEEDING AN A HOLE


I love all creatures great and small--except for one.  Why do I actually hate this one?  Because even though he is quite handsome--he is a merciless bully.

We all know hummingbirds are aggressive feeders.  I can deal with that but I have one this year that will not let anyone eat from what he considers to be "his" feeder.

I have two of the feeders out.  One of them is used by about 6 at a time. They sit almost shoulder to shoulder--no social distancing-- compatible with very few arguments.  The other one is the sole possession of A-- Hole.

He sits in a near by tree or on the feeder and if anyone comes near it, he pounces on them to run them off.   Thus his feeder remains full while the other one drains steadily.

I have yelled at him, pounded on the window and even called him Donald.  Nothing works. So I do the only thing I can.  As the nice hummers' feeder drains to just a splash of nectar, I will go out and switch them. The near empty one becomes his and he is too stupid to realize that now he is wasting energy on just a few dribbles. Definitely not a stable genius.

Here he is guarding his feeder, not even drinking. You can see that there is just a little nectar in the bottom of the one I swapped. 
The full one goes to the compatible ones so for a while all is good again.  This has only happened one other time in all my years of feeding them. Usually there is just a lot of squabbling and only twice has one bully claimed a whole feeder to himself.  Kind of wonder if it is the same one or maybe one of his offspring.

I don't wish him any harm, just want him to start migration early.  Sometimes "cute" just doesn't cut it.  Any ideas how to curb his enthusiasm without constant monitoring?

51 comments :

  1. I laughed all of the way through this. The picture of him sitting all alone at his almost empty feeder,the "personality" name you have given him, and that he is not a stable genius. Aren't the hummingbirds cute, except for your little bully. I wonder if he will be around again next year. Maybe he will find a different territory to bully.

    I have a very big hummingbird that comes to my zinnias this year. I told my friend that I have named him Schwarzeneger, because for a hummingbird, he is wide across the shoulders and big. I told her I thought he was just migrating through, and I wouldn't see him any more. She replied "He'll be b-a-a-a-c-k."

    I used to sit out on the front porch a few years back and there was one hummingbird that would fly right up close to my face and hover for quite a while and look me in the eyes. At that time I did not realize how territorial they are. I now wonder if instead of looking into my eyes, if he wasn't looking at my glasses lenses and thinking that he saw two hummingbirds heading toward him.

    Happy hummingbird feeding!

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    1. susie,
      Now you have me curious about Arnold. Hope you can get a picture of him and loved the "I'll be baaack"
      Could be about the glasses. I have had them get in my face if I am wearing a bright colored shirt.

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  2. Sorry to say, ALL my ruby-throats are aggressive here, Patti. I'm always amazed to see videos of off-season hummers feeding peacefully together. Mine don't do that. Ever.

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    1. Florence,
      You are right. Too often they spend most of their time chasing each other but I have had as many as three feeders full of peaceful eaters. Guess they eventually learn that is the smart thing to do.

      Delete
  3. Ah Patti, I couldn’t stop laughing while reading this! I wish my mom was still here, I’d be reading this to her over the phone right now. She truly was the ‘Hummingbird Lady’, kept several feeders & you couldn’t stand on her back porch without getting buzzed by ‘em. I sure hope Donald moves on soon!

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    1. Doug,
      So glad you enjoyed and that your Mom enjoyed the little cuties also. When I they are in full season, it does sound like a bee hive out there.

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  4. I have never seen a non-aggressive hummingbird. Especially before migration season I used to threaten to take a fly swatter to them because they wouldn't let me sit on the deck.

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    1. Olga,
      They can make you feel like you are being bombed by a bunch of flies or bees but usually they vanish when I open the door. I have had some get in my face.

      Delete
  5. I haven't had one of those guys appear around here, but it does make you wonder why some hummers are so aggressive while others are relatively civil. Donald indeed. :-)

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    1. Djan,
      It is weird to see six eating peacefully while a few are determined to stir things up. Guess they can't get along any better than we can.:)

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  6. OMG I live this too. I love that you named this bully Donald. We have a bigger one who dive bombs the little ones on the feeder so they leave. We moved the feeder but he found them. No one likes a bully not for a president or at my bird feeder - they must go! If you figure out a plan I need in on it. :-)

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    1. Margaret,
      So far multiple feeders and swapping them out as they start to empty is the only thing I have found to partially work. Good luck.

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  7. Even in the animal kingdom there is an obnoxious bullies and you named yours well. I love that you can switch the feeders and him being too dumb to figure it out. Maybe he's just helping you get more exercise and interest in your days?

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    1. Jean,
      He really is kind of dumb but at least since he is, my method kind of works. You have a point about exercise. He does give my day a little added purpose. Guess I should thank him.

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  8. You are definitely doing the right thing by moving the fuller feeder to the hummers who know how to share. Let Donald sit alone and sip the remaining dregs of nectar while believing he is king.

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    1. robin,
      So far he has not smartened up in the least. He smugly sits at the near empty feeder like he is the king of the hill. Grateful for that.

      Delete
  9. I've never been able to attract hummingbirds so I'm no help, but I think you got the name right. :p

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    1. Eileen,
      Sorry you can't attract them. They really are fun to watch. It was the first name to come to mind.

      Delete
  10. Comparing a hummingbird bully to the Donald hurts my heart. Other than that, it was interesting to learn that bullies exist even among the smallest creatures on our earth. I hope that doesn't mean they are somehow necessary.

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    1. Inger,
      I know, I was trying to figure out what the purpose of his bullying except that he wanted the nectar all to him self and the heck with the others. Sad.

      Delete
  11. All my male hummingbirds are agresdive, while the females share. I learned this from a bird expert...the males need the extra feedings 'cause they migrate earlier than females by 2 weeks. (give or take). It's just a natural way, and they know the way to survive.

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    1. Annie,
      Good to know he will be gone 2 weeks before the ladies. Still I have always had aggressive males but only one other time have I had one claim the whole feeder to himself.

      Delete
  12. You are doing the right thing. I like how clever you are.

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  13. I don't know a thing about hummingbirds but I always find the different personalities in the animal kingdom so interesting.

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    1. Sue,
      I know. If you have ever fed seagulls you will see every personality there is from aggressive, to shy.

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  14. This is the first year I've realized that some people recognize the hummingbirds at the feeders they put out. I need to pay more attention. My husband Art does the bird stuff, so he's probably noticed and he'll roll his eyes when I tell him about this.

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    1. Linda,
      I normally watch them but with the lock down, I am watching them a lot more and spotted this behavior.

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  15. Dear Patti and Friends, had a bird feeder where i used to live. Don't recall much feuding, but those birds were picky. Whenever i had extra money to buy the premium feed, that was gone in like a day. The regular stuff lasted awhile.
    A narcissist hummingbird...that's almost funny - but i'm not the one hearing the screeching drama unfold daily.

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    1. Sue,
      I sometimes feed seed in the winter and the birds seem to share quite nicely. It is the little hummers that are so aggressive. Must be small bird syndrome.

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  16. Our hummers only feed on our plants. We don't put out feeders, so I don't know if we have any bullies. I do like your solution. Just swap out the feeders. If Donald is too dumb to notice, so much better for the rest.

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    1. Linda,
      Natural feeding I am sure keeps the birds behaving better. When we introduce all you can eat, they seem to get unbalances. So far Donald is still dumb.

      Delete
  17. Not a clue how to help, but I think you got his name right.

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  18. Say it isn't so! And I thought hummingbirds were nice -- we get excited when we see one in the backyard.

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    1. Tom,
      Ha ha, they can be nasty little beggars, especially the males who leave a sting of single moms behind them when they aren't beating up others for food. They don't help with the raising of the young at all. They do have cute cornered.

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  19. Dear Patti, I have no suggestions because I know nothing really about hummingbirds. But I'm thanking you for this post because it made me laugh out loud. The antics of that bully really do remind me of someone named "Donald"!!!!!! I think we both know whom I mean. And I hope that soon he will be migrating out of his white house. Peace.

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    1. Dee,
      Ha ha, yes that is why he earned that name. I like the idea of him migrating out of the white house--well put.

      Delete
  20. We have one of those too...his name might be Donald but that just seems too kind! Take care!

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    1. Barbara,
      Welcome to TNS and thanks for stopping by and commenting. Sorry you have one of them too. They sure give cute little birds a bad name.

      Delete
  21. That is so funny Patti, and especially the way you fooled them. I was very faithful putting out my hummingbird feeder until I decided to join them. I took my coffee and book to the deck (where the feeder was) and proceeded to settle in for a good read and general relaxation. Ha, nothing doing .. according to those little sweet looking birds I was invading their private spot. I literally had them zooming between me and my book and forget about trying to drink the coffee. I was literally being attacked and I decided to let them finish the liquid that was in the feeder ... and then I took it down ... and never put one up again. They sure are cute but I like my daily ritual on the deck and they were not about to let that happen ...cute they may be but not too smart !

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    1. Ginnie,
      Oh they can dive bomb us when they want and chatter constantly. I can see why you don't want to share space with them. I have had them get in my face before. They sure are bossy.

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  22. I’ve never encountered such aggressiveness in those sweet little birds. Is he the same type as the others or a different breed? Guess it just goes to show other creatures have different personality types, too.

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    1. Joared,
      Yep, he is the same kind but he really has an attitude. They will usually squabble but this behavior is unique.

      Delete
  23. I have noticed that Hummingbirds can be aggressive towards one another and bully, it was surprising. They seem unafraid of people or pets, so they have quite the little Attitudes. But they are so Pretty and it seems when they're not fighting and fussing, they can get along... well, some of them.

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    1. Bohemian,
      They really are fearless aren't they? I love it when they all sit quietly at the feeders. It just takes one to get them going again. I'll put up with their table manners for they are fun to watch and are really cute.

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  24. After the hurricane, my 4 feeders were inundated with hundreds of Hummingbirds. One fatty tried to guard the biggest feeder for himself, but he was outnumbered. I’ve used 10 pounds of sugar a week since the now 2 hurricanes nearby. Word is out I have the sweetest nectar, I guess. They usually leave here (central Louisiana) in early October for South Texas, so I’ll keep buying sugar. I need to get some pics of the charm of Hummingbirds to post, but they’re fast movers and I only get blurs. I’ve had some very aggressive meanies over the 30 years I’ve fed them here, so I understand your bird. :-) xo

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    1. Marion,
      So the hurricanes didn't blow them away? I always wondered what they did in a wind storm, they are so tiny. That is a lot of sugar but they can guzzle the sweet stuff. For a while I was making 3 quarts a day.
      Hope you are staying safe from Sally.

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  25. Clever idea to swop the feeders over. The thing I hate in our garden is badgers. They are digging up all the grass and leaving massive holes all over, and if it's not them it's the rabbits. They are cute but not when they ruin the garden.

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  26. I've always been fascinated by hummers. You're so lucky to have them, but that bully needs to go. I'm glad you outsmarted him. Sheesh! I think I saw hummers in Illinois just once or twice and maybe it was just my imagination.

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  27. I've only observed hummingbirds on a few occasions, and always thought they were benign, good-natured, and a friend to all other hummingbirds. Wow, was I wrong....lol.

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