Sunday, July 25, 2010

Damn Birds!

I got a new hummingbird feeder for Father’s Day from my daughter. We now have 2 hanging on the balcony. The new one holds twice as much nectar as the old one. Except the damn birds won’t touch the old one now. They insist on using the new one.

But that’s OK. Except it’s hanging over my grill and now my grill is getting hummingbird crap on it. Damn birds.

And with 2 feeders you’d expect to be able to accommodate twice as many hummies. Nope. Now one a-hole male hummingbird can chase other hummies away from 2 feeders. It’s made for more interesting squabbles this summer and more near collisions between zooming hummies and humans. Just an hour or so ago I was standing and talking to my wife when 2 birds came zooming along diving below the rail. One cut in front of my belly the other behind me in a flurry of whirring as the butthead male chased a female away.

And I just went out and checked because I heard the chirping of the other birds that have discovered and tried to take over the new feeder. There’s a pair of Hooded Orioles which have taken up residence in a nearby palm tree and they like to hang out at the feeder and slurp up the nectar. Their beaks can get into the feeder. They’re probably 5 times as big as a hummingbird and they’re the ones who are probably slurping up all the nectar.

But that’s summer here on our balcony. Lots of busy birds. In about 2 months, when it’s migration time, there’ll be a lot more hummingbirds stopping by for a few days on their way to Mexico.

By then Ozzie and Sharon will have moved on and the hummies will enjoy the monopoly of the feeder. Ozzie and Sharon are what we call the oriole pair as in Ozzie and Sharon Oriole (named of course after the Osbournes).

Ozzie and Sharon are kind of shy. I’ve been trying like crazy to get their picture. They’re not like the hummies and won’t come over when there’s anyone else on the balcony so I try to sneak up on them. I keep my camera handy so all I have to do is get the balcony door open, stick the camera out and snap away but they take off well before I can stick the camera outside—just as soon as they see or sense the motion.

Looks like I got busted by Sharon! She's giving me the kind of dirty look my wife gives me when I'm being a jerk.

So I noticed that the feeder is in full view of our bedroom window. I put the camera on the desk and pulled the vertical blinds apart so there’s a full time view of the feeder. Then when I hear them outside slurping nectar, I go into the bedroom, turn on the camera and start snapping as fast as I can. The only problem is that the view is through a screen and the lightmeter isn’t reading the outside light. But, I finally managed to get a couple of pictures.

Hooded Orioles are really cool looking. The male is bright yellow with black marking on the wings and head. The female reminds me a bit more of a meadowlark with more of a lemon yellow and grey set of markings. And sometimes Ozzie and Sharon will be on the feeder together sounding almost as though they’re having an argument back and forth before bending back to their sipping and then chasing one another into the trees.

But, now I’ve got to go out and pluck the feeder off it’s nail because it needs more nectar. They’re like kids. They never, ever say thank you! Damn birds.

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