This Houston hummer is nearing the Gulf Coast on his way to Mexico or Central America. He must keep fueling and fattening. Feeder wars abound, as this observer's story and photo shows. This ruffled male has a hard-won place at the feeder. His neck is stretched up, and we can see the swelling under the neck feathers where his crop is: He has swallowed enough sugar water in this sitting to fill his crop and stomach. He needs a lot of calories to fuel all that fighting—and other daily activities. What else can we learn about hummingbird behavior from this observer?
“I have just witnessed at least five males violently fighting it out. One hit my window and was stunned, and I went outside to see it was not predated. It flew away after a short while. All the while the battle raged over my head. One of them actually ran into me. They are so absorbed in their battle that they lose sight of other dangers. We will see our first 60-degree nights soon, maybe end of this week. That will most likely send them further south."
TJ Wallace in Houston, Texas (September 18, 2013)
Photo: TJ Wallace