Hummingbird Update

Did some google-fu and the nasty hummingbird who attacks everyone is a ruby throated hummingbird and the one he is bullying is a green violetear, although it is not as vibrant a green as those pictures. It’s a much earthier green that shows up the way purple shows up on a blackbird when the light hits it a right way. At any rate, there are now 3-4 hummingbirds (haven’t seen the other two close enough to know what they are) coming at once, so what is happening is basically whack-a-mole for the ruby throated. He’ll drive off one, and another one will swoop in and feed. Sometimes when the ruby throated is chasing off another one, the other two will come at the same time and attack each other, so basically no one is feeding, everyone is fighting, and things are fucked up and bullshit and the free nectar is just being wasted.

I think I just described American politics.

126 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    Except not as pretty.

  2. 2
    gbear says:


  3. 3
    mtiffany says:

    Have you considered, mayhap, a second hummingbird feeder? (Tee-hee)

  4. 4
    mkd says:

    @gbear: for the win!

  5. 5
    satby says:

    They sort it out. I have 2 feeders and one tiny hummer who sometimes guards it, and I think it’s cute. They will tag team each other to feed, so just enjoy the antics.
    What aggravates me is all the files, bees, and ants that sooner or later get into the feeders and then I have to dump what’s left, but the nectar spoils when it’s hot and humid and you’re supposed to change it every few days anyway. So now I never put more than 8 oz at a time and keep the rest in the fridge till I need to change it out.

  6. 6
    Lee Rudolph says:

    There ain’t no such thing as a free nectar.

  7. 7
    max says:

    so basically no one is feeding, everyone is fighting, and things are fucked up and bullshit and the free nectar is just being wasted. I think I just described American politics.

    Economics, certainly.

    [‘And much debating, which isn’t so much debating as dominance via yelling.’]

  8. 8
    gbear says:

    @WereBear: I got ‘not pretty’ for you:

    An old brewery in my neighborhood that’s been converted into artist lofts had a ‘Germanfest’ celebration today. Food was pretty good but the entertainment is a mix of oompah and variety bands. The band that was playing while I was there was a not so good variety band covering all the bases, but then they went into a song that I recognized but I couldn’t place until they got to the chorus ‘Keep on Rockin’ the Free World!’. One of the band members had slapped on an accordion to play this song, and the energy level was MIA. The singer was trying to emote heavily as the song reached the end but he went into full lutheran church tenor mode and it was just spellbinding in all the wrong ways. You could tell they really loved the song and wanted to make an impression, which they did. Hooboy.

  9. 9
    MikeJ says:


    What aggravates me is all the files, bees, and ants that sooner or later get into the feeders

    I hung mine from an ant trap when I saw a line of them marching in to eat.

    Similar to this one:

  10. 10
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Radical idea. Plant some hummingbird attracting flowers, so they can feed on those in between fights at the snack bar. I’d offer suggestions, but we’re different zones, so you have many more options.

  11. 11
    MazeDancer says:

    More feeders, less fighting, more nectar drinking.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    This is the motto of the Koch Brothers and the Walton family.

  13. 13
    Emerald says:

    Never forget that birds are the last surviving line of dinosaurs.

    Expect them to behave accordingly.

  14. 14
    gbear says:

    (deleted due to misreading a comment)

  15. 15
    SarahT says:

    My Mom has two Hummingbird Feeders and I agree – Hummingbirds are TOTALLY assholes, and not just because one of them crapped on her when she was just sitting on the balcony minding her own business, the Hummingbird bastard…

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    The more feeders you put up, the more they share, and the more you will have. I usually have 75-100 of the little buggers flying around about a half dozen feeders. This year the spring was so cool I didn’t hear my first hummer until May and I think they all found other homes, as I now have maybe a dozen at 2 feeders. A couple buddies of mine in Arkansas would put out a dozen or so and would literally have hundreds of them flitting about. One did not dare go outside without safety glasses.

    Anyway, I think the way it works is the smaller the supply the tuffer the competition for the limited food. More food=less competition and they all relax.

    Also, I suspect the green one is a female ruby throated. Possible it is otherwise tho.

  17. 17
    Violet says:

    @TaMara (BHF): Was going to say the same thing. Plant plants that attract hummingbirds and will feed them. Then you’ll have them all over the yard and they might not fight quite so much. I’ve put in a lot of hummingbird-attractor plants and we’ve got them all over when they migrate through.

  18. 18
    hildebrand says:

    o/t The Pope excommunicated the Italian Mafia today. Not a bad day at the office.

  19. 19
    Emerald says:

    On a more serious note, please be sure your feeders are clean. You can inadvertently cause your little hummers to starve to death. This article explains what can happen and what to do:

  20. 20
    MikeBoyScout says:

    I dare to say the problem is the free Obamaphone, eh uh, free nectar.

    The solution to the hummingbird problem is to use the free market.

  21. 21
    Corner Stone says:

    I did it all for the nectar
    The nectar
    So you can take that sugar
    And stick it up your, yeah!!
    Stick it up your, yeah!!
    Stick it up your, yeah!!

  22. 22
    Felonius Monk says:

    the nasty hummingbird who attacks everyone is a ruby throated hummingbird

    Sounds like a “Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti” hummingbird. Perhaps you ought to invade and bring democracy to the hummingbirds of WV. I’m sure (or at least Dick Cheney tells me) that you’ll be greeted as the Great Liberator.

  23. 23
    smith says:

    If those are really green violetears, you’d better call Audubon, as the ruby-throated is the only hummer known in your neck of the woods. As mentioned above, the ones without the ruby throats are females or immature males.

  24. 24
    JPL says:

    Although John’s photography skills have improved, I assume that he’s not ready for hummingbird pictures. I miss Stuck’s pictures.

    @Emerald: You are going to give him ideas.

  25. 25
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    The nasty who who attacks everyone … and the one he is bullying… he’ll drive off one, and another one will swoop in… chasing off another one, the other two will…

    Politics? I think you just described your comments section.

  26. 26
    WereBear says:

    @gbear: Accordion is like the opéra bouffe of instruments. You can emote with it, but the emotions you get are weird.

  27. 27
    Roger Moore says:

    They make feeders that are very good at keeping insects out. There are ones with a long enough distance between the opening and the liquid that hummingbirds can drink but bees can’t; I haven’t had any problems with bees since I got one. Ants can be a bit harder, but you can try an ant moat. That said, I’ve stopped having any problem with the nectar going bad. Since this spring, I’ve had so many hummingbirds that I have to refill each of my two one quart feeders every other or every third day. I suspect the drought her in Southern California has driven a lot of hummingbirds down from the mountains into the city, and they’re going crazy eating from my feeders.

  28. 28
    NotMax says:


  29. 29
    Roger Moore says:

    If you want to make a good impression, it helps to start with good material. “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World” on accordion is not a promising start.

  30. 30
    NotMax says:

    The place: TCM

    The date: Monday, June 23

    The time: 9:45 p.m. Eastern

    The film: The Night They Raided Minsky’s

    A quintessential example of a comic romp.

  31. 31
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Today I had to add “living room television” to the “things that don’t work in my house” list. I am so sick of things breaking down. I am getting to the point of packing my stuff, walking out, and throwing a match behind me as I walk out of the door.

  32. 32
    gbear says:

    @Roger Moore: Agreed. It was weird from the get-go.

  33. 33
    Pogonip says:

    @NotMax: I went to that because it was rated M (now PG) and we knew they’d let us in. It went totally over my head. One of these days I should watch it as a grownup.

  34. 34
    Suzanne says:

    @Corner Stone: Remember when a shitload of people decided that that was a good song and we should listen to it a lot?

    BTW, you just made me LOL. No foolin’.

  35. 35


    At the moment, there are no known Green Violetears north of Mexico.

    If you can get a picture, that would be AWESOME. If not, can you give a more thorough description:

    Does the hummer have a white belly, or is it indeed dark/iridescent all over? Or does it have a throat that is not red, but not white, either?

    Does it seem to be the same size as the male ruby-throated, the one whose territory this is, by gum, and you’d better RESPECT HIS AUTHORITAH?

  36. 36
    Schlemizel says:

    There is a town near Mankato MN that has a hummingbird park. They must have 50-60 feeders and it is fun to watch hundreds of the nasty little buggers fight over space. Not sure if they are just aware of the endless supply or what but the fights are minor and everyone feeds. It is an amazing experience to sit on a bench had have a whole flock of them swirling around your head.

  37. 37
    WereBear says:

    Republicans. Wings a blur just to stay in the same place.

  38. 38
    Greg Smith says:

    Green violetears do not appear in WV. The most likely id for that hummingbird is a female Ruby-throat.

  39. 39

    @Doctor Science: Absolutely. I will leave my phone by the back porch so I remember to take it out with me.

    I am not completely sure it is a green violetear if you say there are none north of Mexico. I just went to a website that described which hummingbirds were indigenous to this region, and this hummingbird was clearly not a Ruby throated, rufous, or black-chinned, because the dominant color is an earthy greenish hue, but nowhere near as vibrant as the green violetear.

    I’ll do my best to get some good pictures.

  40. 40
    SteveinSC says:

    Violet-Ear is from South America. Only endemic hummingbird in the east is Ruby Throated. The bird is only protecting our country from migrants.

  41. 41
    Roger Moore says:

    To be perfectly honest, “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World” not on accordion isn’t such a great place to start, either.

  42. 42

    @hildebrand: Good for him! He is making the right enemies. Some uber Catholics don’t seem to like him much.

  43. 43
    Jeff Spender says:

    So, I decided to run for State Rep in Michigan. I’ve been inundated by a bunch of PACs from out of state, like Norquist’s pledge for opposing any increase in taxes.

    And I gotta say, I’m pretty disgusted by the whole process. So much money and influence being peddled or hung over a candidate. Threats and coercion to sign a pledge or a document or ELSE! people will know you support this and that when you have never indicated such support.

    It’s…disheartening, honestly.

  44. 44
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Earthy greenish in WV is a female rubythroat.

  45. 45
    Schlemizel says:

    We had a different hummer here this spring, just for a few days. It had a purple throat in place of red & I am pretty sure it had a song. Never heard a hummer sing before but the wife thinks I am nuts because she never heard it.

    We see a few rubies here & one I am told is a Costa, it had a beautiful blue throat that runs a long way down the flank. Neither that blue nor the purple stuck around. We should but up feeders for them. I have several flowers they like & the rubies and some plain ones hang around but the flowers come a little late I think.

  46. 46
    kindness says:

    Get a second feeder and put it across the yard.

  47. 47
    WereBear says:

    @Jeff Spender: Hey, we’d love that inside view.

  48. 48
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Jeff Spender: Thank you for putting your hat in the ring. Our system only works if a reasonable cross-section of citizens is willing to participate.

    Good luck!


  49. 49
    Jeff Spender says:


    I’m sticking with it. Honestly, I’m planning on posting these things on the internet and making .pdfs for downloads. Most of the time I don’t even bother with them, but the paper trails are hard to ignore. The DeVos family (of Amway fame) is involved with the Michigan Freedom Fund. That and Americans for Prosperity are, so far, the only groups who have threatened to tell people all these negative things if I don’t tow the line. I mean: “Failure to return the signed pledge will be understood as a state of support on your behalf for bills that cut funding for public schools and raise fees on public school teachers.”

    Straightforward, but read the pledge and it’s a cut-and-paste hackjob of right-wing talking points and Orwellian language.

    The last bit of my idealism is struggling to survive.

  50. 50
    Baud says:

    @Jeff Spender:

    Let me join the chorus of those thanking you for stepping up.

  51. 51
    Roger Moore says:

    A fair number of hummingbirds are migratory. I’ve had short-term invasions of Rufous hummingbirds here when they migrate through. This year I’m seeing a lot more Allen’s hummingbirds in addition to the more common Anna’s.

  52. 52
    MomSense says:

    @Jeff Spender:

    I’m sorry the superpacs are spending money against you and I want to say thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for running. I don’t know anything about your particular race or your chances but I honestly believe that when people of conscience put themselves out there and at least try to advocate for humane and compassionate politics–it makes a huge difference. Even if someone is a Republican and doesn’t vote for you, you may make an impression for being dignified, and honest and for simply trying. You are planting the seeds for good things to grow. That is good work, frustrating and patient work to be sure, but also really important work.

    Again, thank you!!

  53. 53
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Jeff Spender: Donations page? People around here might want to help.

  54. 54
    pat says:

    If you really think that is a green volatier, call your local Audubon guys immediately because they will all want to see a bird that should be in a south american rain forest.

  55. 55
    hildebrand says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yep – the whole comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable seems to be his m.o. (at least far more than most who have sat in the big chair).

  56. 56
    ⚽️ Martin says:

    @pat: What makes you think climate change hasn’t turned West Virginia into a suitable climate for them?

  57. 57
    raven says:

    Back from Athfest. It cooled off and wasn’t bad. I think a lot of people here would like Kishi Bashi, smokin violin player but it reminded me of stuff like Yes and ELO. We were walking down a narrow, poorly lit street right off of downtown. I saw a dollar bill on the ground and bent to pick it up and these kids up on a porch had fishing line tied to it and jerked it away! It was funny as shit.

  58. 58
    pat says:

    @⚽️ Martin:

    I’d place more weight on Cole misidentifying a bird. It really helps to have a book that shows the range right on the page that describes the bird, and oh yes, go out birding with some knowledgable folks for a few years before you place all your identification on a picture in one book.

  59. 59
    Mike E says:

    So, he’s punishing nectar moochers who are here illegally anyways. Riiight.

    I bet it’s just due to testosterone. Or too much Fox News. Probably.

  60. 60
    pat says:

    My dad, when he lived in So Cal, put out feeders on the balcony and when they were empty the hummers would practically dive bomb him until he filled them again. They are fearless!

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    DVR alert: Georgy Girl is starting on TCM right now. Young Charlotte Rampling. Later, Blow Up.

  62. 62
    Jeff Spender says:


    Thank you for the support. I’m certainly going to do my best. I’m tired of “common sense” solutions that don’t have any real, you know, substance.

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Don’t actually have one yet. Mostly just doing door-to-door campaigning for now. I’m a first time candidate and there’s a pretty steep learning curve. Still–doing this is giving me a new appreciation for these efforts.

  63. 63
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Rock and roll played on an accordion calls to mind either Weird Al Yankovic or the E Street Band’s late, great Danny Federici.

  64. 64
    pat says:

    And if you see anything other than a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird east of the Rockies, as I recall, it is an event.

    I was standing on a river bank in Montana, wearing a bright pink cap, and a hummer was buzzing around my head looking for the nectar. Cool!

  65. 65

    Caturday thread needs kitteh!

  66. 66
    maya says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Hummingbirds travel with their own kind. Racist little shits. So, yes. you are right. It is most likely a female of the same species as the male. Cole is new at this so he imagines all these exotic species of hummers are traveling thousands of miles, over deserts and oceans just to drink the suds at his wretched widdle feeder.

    When I first got involved with hummers, over 20 years ago, there were just 3 Annas native to the area. Then over the years they increased to about 8 or so. {Incidently, here is a rough chart of how long each species live.}

    About three years ago Allens arrived, but they also are native to this area. They just didn’t show up at my feeders before. Every year now, for the past 10-15 years, at the end of June the Rufous’ swoop in. In droves. They take over the compound, chase the bigger hummers away [they’re the smallest], fight all the time and make the loudest racket imaginable. That’s when I have to refill the two large feeders I have 3-4X a day. That lasts two weeks and then they split, all together, on to some other locale on their migratory route. I’m stocked up on sugar, ready for them.

  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Jeff Spender: Do please post it when it is ready.

    @Amir Khalid: Mink De Ville used it at times.

  68. 68
    Suzanne says:

    @Jeff Spender: Awesome. Way to go. Can we help at all?

  69. 69
    satby says:

    @Roger Moore: Both my feeders have ant moats, though they can dry out really fast. I bought a Hummzinger specifically to eliminate the bees getting the nectar and it did, but that’s the one with ports big enough for flys to crawl right into. But making sure to change it every few days helps there too. Hummers also eat insects, so I encourage them, as I do swallows, and bats. I live next to a protected swamp, I need all the help I can get with the skeeters.

  70. 70
    SarahT says:

    @Jeff Spender: Thank you for taking on the fight

  71. 71
    rikyrah says:

    Orphan Black………..what the phuck?

  72. 72
    SarahT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): If you get the Antenna channel, “Darling” is on at 10:30 Eastern Time

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @Jeff Spender:

    I’m tired of “common sense” solutions that don’t have any real, you know, substance.

    “Common sense” is most often an excuse for refusing to question our beliefs. Any time a politician describes something as “common sense”, it means he hasn’t bothered to learn anything about the issue and is just going with his gut instincts no matter what the actual experts suggest. It’s an admission that the person saying it is a know-nothing.

  74. 74
    maya says:

    @Roger Moore: You must be on the left coast. Got same array here. In fact, Roofies should be arriving here by end of next week. They come every end of June, guzzle nectar and fight with the Annas and Allens – and themselves – and then move on after about two weeks.

  75. 75
    satby says:

    @Jeff Spender: Where in Michigan? And yes, get a ActBlue or something set up ASAP so we can kick in!

  76. 76
    p says:

    According to the Wikipedia article, Violet ears don’t get north of Mexico. I suspect the green one is a female ruby-throat. They are an earthy green. And ruby-throated is by far the most common hummingbird on the East coast.

  77. 77
    gray lensman says:

    At our mountain cabin at 8700 feet in Grand County CO we usually have black chinned hummers who get along nicely until the rufous “Republicans” show up (they don’t want the juice and don’t want anyone else to have it). Big fights then.

    Things are changing in Colorado. We are seeing birds we have never seen before at this altitude. We had some Evening Grosbeaks at the seed feeders this spring. This is a first for us after almost 20 years of putting out seed. Long cold snowy winter and wet spring too. The North Fork of the Colorado River at the bottom of the ridge is running faster and deeper than we have ever seen.

  78. 78
    Betsy says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole: it’s immature or something. You do not have a green violetear in your yard.

  79. 79
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: I appreciate your not giving anything away because I haven’t seen the last two episodes – waiting for my friend to return on july 2 because we watch the show together.

    There is a woman who does great reviews of Orphan Black. She also reviews Orange is the New Black and Louie.

    If you refresh the page at the link on Sunday afternoon, she will likely have her review of the final episode for season 2 up by then. I think she has a really fun take on the series, so I enjoy reading her reviews.

  80. 80
    Achrachno says:

    @p: Yes. Wikip: “The Green Violetear has a range from the highlands of southern Mexico to Honduras; the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama; mountains of northern Venezuela and the Andes from western Venezuela to western Bolivia.” No mention of WV. Keep at it though, John. You’ll find something really odd eventually.

  81. 81
    currants says:


    Also, I suspect the green one is a female ruby throated. Possible it is otherwise tho.

    Agreed (probably others have noted, but I just got to the thread)–the northernmost range for the green violetear (sp?) is Mexico.

    Then again, climate change, so whatever.

  82. 82

    We’re getting Violet Ears on the yucca this week. I’ll attempt a photo but it’s not my hobby.

    35 degrees north, y’all.

    I’m not a birder–don’t plan to die before I’m actually dead, and nothing bores me like birds–but these are definitely That Kind of Hummingbird. So count 3 and pray, because we broke the planet. This used to be Mexico up until the border crossed it.

  83. 83
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Jeff Spender:

    I’m pretty disgusted by the whole process.

    When you get elected, stay that way. You’ll serve your constituents well.

  84. 84
    Nate says:

    Probably not a Green Violetear, as mentioned by many above, as in addition to being rare north of Mexico they’re really large hummingbirds. About half again bigger than the Ruby-throats. That’s not to say they don’t ever show up in the states, just that they’re really really unusual.

    It’s likely a young Ruby-throat recently fledged. They should be showing up at feeders now. Their iridescence is duller and they tend to start at the bottom of the totem pole.

  85. 85
    Anoniminous says:


    Then again, climate change, so whatever.

    um …

    Common habitats for the green violetear is in the canopy and borders of subtropical and lower temperate forest, secondary woodland and scrub, and clearings and gardens in the subtropical zone on both slopes of the Andes. It is recorded mostly between altitudes of 1200 to 2300m [4,000 to 7,500 feet] though they will sometimes wander as far down as 500m in search of food sources. It generally prefers more humid and high-altitude areas, such as cloud forests

    I don’t think WV’s climate has changed THAT much, plus they’d have to grow some mountains.

  86. 86
    pseudonymous in nc says:


    Also, I suspect the green one is a female ruby throated.

    Yep. Either a female ruby-throated or a juvenile. Violetears don’t summer in WV, unless they stow away on planes. Standard rule is ruby-throated to the east, rufous to the west, with a few crossovers and a few rare exotic visitors in Florida and the Gulf coast.

    ‘Hummer warz’ just happen. That’s what the little sugar-crazed buggers do. Most of the time, it’s like Top Gun, but when they get into one-on-one fights and rise vertically, it’s like The Matrix. I think I’ve seen a feeder being shared a handful of times, mostly because hummer 1 didn’t realise hummer 2 was on the opposite side. Shared feeding tends to happen more often in the big migratory clusters down in Louisiana and Texas where it’s like getting off at a rest stop on the interstate down to Costa Rica and they’re not territorial.

    Get another feeder. Put it on the opposite side of the house.

  87. 87
    different-church-lady says:

    I think I just described American politics.

    Or Balloon Juice comment threads.

  88. 88
    DaveR says:

    Green Violet-ears DO get north of Mexico; we had one in Kansas a few years back. But they are definitely not expected; as someone said, call your local Audubon chapter if that is the ID, because this is a hot-line bird. They are also a lot bigger than the Ruby-throated hummers which are expected in WV.

  89. 89
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @different-church-lady: Where is damned free nectar?

  90. 90
    gbear says:

    @Betsy: Which is why all my favorite birding books have the range map on the same page as the bird. It cuts down on false ID’s very quickly.

  91. 91
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Jeff Spender:

    Honestly, I’m planning on posting these things on the internet and making .pdfs for downloads.

    I think it’d be a good addition to your campaign — be very very open about the daily interactions you have with PACs and non-candidate actors, and show people what running for a state legislative position is like, instead of working within the standard campaign template.

  92. 92
    Roxy says:

    I have five male hummingbirds that fight each other for the feeder. Don’t worry John, they will drink. I’ve watched the dominant one chase off one while two will land and drink at the feeder. We also have another feeder further out in the yard. A couple of them are drinking from this one.

  93. 93
    StringOnAStick says:

    @gray lensman: The birds aren’t the only thing changing in Colorado. My husband and I have been back country skiing here for decades, but now it doesn’t get cold enough at night in the spring to form corn snow at the end of the season. Even at 12,000 or 13,000′. The last 3 years compared to the prior 30 has seen a huge degree of change.

  94. 94
    hilzoy says:

    Just chiming in to say: if it is a violetear, then you’ve got a major rarity on your hands, and should expect to be inundated by birders if they find out. There’s a range map for the violetear here; as you can see, its normal range is well south of the border. (Also, way west of you.) For the female Ruby-Throated, check out the 2nd and (esp.) 6th pictures here. We do get some vagrants around here: Allen’s, Rufous (unlikely, from your description), Calliope’s, etc. But by far the most common, and the only hummingbird that actually lives in WV, is the Ruby-Throated.

  95. 95

    @pat: I would too. I was just relying on a website that said they were native to this region.

  96. 96
    J R in WV says:

    Here’s a ruby-throated female courtesy of Wikipedia:

    Green, about the same size as the male, totally diff color.

    Here’s the green violetear, also from Wikipedia:

    All that blue/violet is missing from the female ruby-throated.

    They have lots of flashy hummers in AZ, but we usually leave before they start passing through in huge lots. Here we have 3 feeders, 2 on the back deck and 1 on the front porch. They do fight over the food, and you can hear others waiting their turn in the canopy chipping at each other while they wait.

    They’re so fast it’s scary!

  97. 97
    StringOnAStick says:

    Hummingbirds are big on “display”, which means vertical diving by the males that is pretty crazy to watch. One ruby throat got so into it last year at our house that he killed himself diving full speed into the window. I’ll bet John’s green one is an immature male, which is why the mature male is acting insane about him being there; it might screw up his chances with the ladies. If it is a female, then the dive-bombing male is so jacked up on hormones that he’s, ah, overdoing it a bit in trying to get the female’s attention. Kinda like chasing down that girl you liked in second grade and throwing cockleburs at her.

    We were just down near Leadville, climbing Mt. Elbert and the lower slopes were filled with hummingbirds; just buzzing everywhere.

  98. 98
    reality-based says:


    my problem is “things that are fixable, but I somehow can”t get fixed.

    #1. 2004 Ford Taurus, 97k miles, good engine, good transmission. So WHY can’t I get this weird electrical gremlin fixed? Went from “check charging system ” errors (the alternator and battery are working fine) to “check charging system/Check transmission/MAF errors/Camshaft position sensor errors” – its errorpallooza, car runs for shit.

    Dealer suggests I give him $1350 to replace the main computer (PCM) with no guarantee that that will actually fix the car. One Local Mechanic just gave up on it. It is now over at another local mechanics, who will “work on it when he gets time”. And I don’t THINK its the PCM – I think its flaky power of some sort, a bad ground somewhere, some feedback loop is broken – so WHY can’t I get the damn thing FIXED.

    #2. Damn Lyme disease is back. Now in year two of this nonsense. Doc wants me to see a neurologist, think its causing the neck stiffness and headaches. Meanwhile, back on the doxycyclene and dragging my self from bed to work and back to bed. Juicers, take warning – if you pick the deer tick off yourself, do NOT wait to see if you are going to get sick. (my big mistake. ) March into your local clinic and demand a 200mg prophylactic does of doxy, plus an extra 2 weeks just to make sure.

    There – hows that for dumping a downer on the thread on a Sunday night?

    John, stop at your local garden center and get yourself a flat of red salvia. (the annual kind) – also, a couple boxes of red petunias. Stop at the dollar store for some cheap pots, or re-use ones you already have. Plant up 8-9 pots of this stuff and scatter them around your yard and deck – you will be drowning in hummers.

    they seem to really love this one – “summer jewel red” while I was planting it, a hummer flew to my hand to investigate the plant I was holding and feed from it!


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  100. 100
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Jeff Spender: I’ll add to the chorus of this is good news. And we’re here and I’m sure we’ll do whatever we can for you. Money and any emotional shoring up you may need.

  101. 101
    Roger Moore says:

    The Sibley app is worth looking at, also, too. It’s almost as expensive as the book, but it’s better. It’s searchable, you can filter by location (helpful for our bloghost), and it has recordings of the birds rather than the unsatisfactory visual representations of their sounds in the book.

  102. 102
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Here in my neck of the Rockies, we get a very short, very small sampling of hummingbirds. But I was in New Mexico one summer and suddenly I knew what all the fuss was about. There were hundreds at the resort and raucous and fierce and so much fun to sit and watch.

    Of course everything in that part of New Mexico was fun to sit and soak in.

  103. 103

    This is what I love about this website. I just babble about what I have observed while sitting on the porch, try to identify some birds, misidentify one, and then get a free education on why I was misidentifying the bird and what it actually was.

    Fuck you, University of Phoenix. This shit be free.

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole: We’re also possibly five minutes from a fuck you post from you as well.

  105. 105
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @jeffreyw: Wow!!

    Poor moths; but the praying mantises gotta eat.

    Fabulous photos. Thanks.


  106. 106
    Lavocat says:

    I imagine Steve must be going positively batshit if he’s caught outside in the yard.

    Sort of a feline version of “War of the Worlds”.

  107. 107
    Cain says:

    @Lee Rudolph:

    What about ‘peak nectar’?

    Will it happen?

  108. 108
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:


    What about ‘peak nectar’?

    Will it happen?

    On a Wednesday. I don’t know year or month, but it will be a Wednesday. I hope this helps.

  109. 109
    Cain says:

    @Jeff Spender:

    Don’t actually have one yet. Mostly just doing door-to-door campaigning for now. I’m a first time candidate and there’s a pretty steep learning curve. Still–doing this is giving me a new appreciation for these efforts.

    That’s a good way to go about it. I met my state senator that way (still facebook friends). He’s a great guy, he served two years and then quit because of health issues with his wife. Hardest campaigner I have ever met. Even after all his volunteers went home doing door to door, he was still out there. When he came to my door, he was dead on his feet. He wasn’t an idealogue, he was just a guy trying to improve the schools. If he was a Republican I would have voted for him. He was that sincere and he worked really hard and a lto of the young people loved him. I used to tease him of his pics though, he was a good looking guy, but the camera hated him.

    So I think it will work. Good luck to you.

  110. 110
    Thymezone says:

    Bound to happen sooner or later, keyboard liberals attack science.

    Hummingbirds are among the most territorial animals and enthusiastic grubstake defenders on the animal planet, pound for ounce.

  111. 111
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Jeff Spender: @Cain: Jeff, if you want any advice about how to conduce that kind of campaign, contact Mandy Wright at the WI Assembly. She went door to door, answering questions and if she did not know the answer she came back later with it. I believe that she would be happy to offer tips and advice.

  112. 112
    Cain says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    On a Wednesday. I don’t know year or month, but it will be a Wednesday. I hope this helps.


  113. 113
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Thymezone: Nah, it was just Cole being wrong again.

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    RandomMonster says:

    The hummingbirds are assholes — accept them as they are.

    You yourself are an asshole — accept yourself as you are.

  115. 115
    TriassicSands says:

    The Green Violetear has a range from the highlands of southern Mexico to Honduras; the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama; mountains of northern Venezuela and the Andes from western Venezuela to western Bolivia.

    — Wikipedia

    Don’t you live in W. Viriginia?

    This seems like a possible/probable misidentification. Perhaps, the hummer being bullied is either an immature or a female ruby-throated. I was talking about hummingbirds with my sister a few days ago, and the only hummingbird normally seen in the eastern US is the ruby-throated hummingbird.

    Climate change?

    Hummingbirds are notoriously aggressive.

  116. 116
    Emily68 says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole: John: which website was that?

  117. 117
    WaterGirl says:

    @jeffreyw: Just gorgeous! I like your last photo – the one of Bea dreamily watching the hummingbird feeder. So sweet.

    I can’t see hummingbirds without also thinking of General Stuck, wish you were here.

  118. 118
    pat says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole:

    Then that is a terrible website!

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    Anonymous Coward says:

    See if I can get the link to work this time.

    <a href= </a>

    google “2004 pcm” for ideas, and/or buy a used pcm with the same 4-digit code from ebay.

  121. 121
    Perfect Tommy says:

    via Audubon

    A vagrant from Mexico, Green Violetear is the only mostly green hummingbird with a decurved bill likely to show up at hummingbird feeders. This species has reached many midwestern and eastern states and even Alberta, mostly in summer. The reasons for this sharp increase in extralimital records are not known.

    I blame Obama.

  122. 122
    Bill D. says:

    @pat: Probably (Geezer having editing problems here.) The site appears to list vagrants (strays) alongside species indigenous to each state without distinction, which is confusing.

  123. 123
    way2blue says:

    I also endorse the idea of two hummingbird feeders. The little brat can’t guard two at once… But you might also consider planting some hummingbird flowering plants as well. Don’t know what works in W. Virginia, but we have foxglove, penstemon, flowering maple, and salvia in our garden (both in pots on the deck and in ‘wire mesh gopher baskets’ in the ground). The hummingbirds dance from one to the next. No feeders.

    Also we used to have trouble with blue jays and squirrels getting into the birdseed feeder. Then I switched to thistle (nyjer) seed ‘socks’. And only the little guys (finches & such) are able to cling to the sock and pull out the tiny seeds… Although as the seed level winds down, we do see some jostling among them fighting for position. [The blue jays & squirrels tried for a time to launch at the seed sacks & tear holes in them, but they seemed to have moved on to the apples.]

  124. 124
    Betsy says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole: Here’s the thing. Birders are notorious for jumping down people’s throats for misidentifying a rare bird or an accidental (out of range) bird. That’s because the record keeping on this stuff is extremely sensitive and actual verifiable sightings of vagrant birds are important and go down in the history books for the ornithological community.

    So when someone says “I had a blue-tailed yellow-throated wood hummingbird in Goodolboy County, WV” that person will be stormed by experienced birders wanting to verify if it is just some noob looking in wikipedia about hummingbirds for the first time, or in fact a history-making “get” for the record books. (Which the latter, BTW, will also bring hundreds of birders from the seventeen states closest to yours knocking on your door or just taking liberties of your yard.)

    By FAR the more likely scenario is that it’s a noob misidentifying the bird.

    But the contrast between this-is-a-high-alert vs. business-as-usual,-nothing-to-see-here tends to cause a big reaction, and the noob feels it as “smartass birders all jumping down my throat.”

    Sadly this will turn many beginning birders off altogether.

  125. 125
    jame says:

    Best feeder: Hummzinger, available at or Drs Foster & Smith.
    Nectar recipe: 2 cups water, boiled, to which you add 1/2 cup sugar. Let cool, refrigerate, use to refill after cleaning feeders.
    Don’t add red food coloring as they will find the feeders anyway and the red coloring is suspect for health reasons.

  126. 126
    Miss Bianca says:

    Sounds totally typical. Of hummingbirds, hummie feeders, and American politics.

Comments are closed.