August 11, 2009

Hummingbirds are jerks.

Somebody wanted to see hummingbirds. Was it Chip? Meade seems to think it was Chip. So here they are, and let me tell you, they are little bastards. They are tiny — for birds — but if they were bees, they'd be huge and horrible. Watch this video and you'll see, a hummingbird cares only for itself. If you could read their thoughts, translated into English, it would be: "Get the fuck out of my way. This is mine, all mine."

79 comments:

Original Mike said...

Speaking of assholes, whatever happened to Freder?

john said...

It's just the sugar content. My kids get that way too.

Did you ever see the clip of the guy who puts red lipstick on, fills his mouth with sugar water, puckers his lips, then gets hummingbirds to drink out of his mouth? True.

That's love.

My word is moroor

john said...

What is easier is to put your finger up next to the feeder. The hummingbirds will perch on it while they feed.

pepli

paul a'barge said...

Speaking of assholes, how about those Liberals?

Just like hummingbirds, huh?

Jason (the commenter) said...

Maybe they are all saying: "This is for my starving children!"

madawaskan said...

I LOVE these-

Nasty Suckers!

They are a wonder of physics.

Maguro said...

Hummingbirds are complete assholes and also rather dumb. We used to have one male who dominated our feeder, never let any of the females near it. Then one day he flew in through our open garage door and tried to fly out through the closed back window. He kept at it until he exhausted himself to death, never turned around and flew out the door he came in through.

We have 3 or 4 females who visit the feeder now and they're all assholes to each other, but very entertaining.

Richard Dolan said...

Today began with a post about predators, a little sentimentality inspired by cougars. Along the way, Ann offered observations like: "We also have the ability to think about whether our love for beautiful animals means we can welcome them in our yard or our house." Now it's hummingbirds, jerks for "car[e] only for [them]selves." With the cougars, the key was the beauty of the animal; with the birds, it's their "horrible" self-centered conduct. But when a cougar is munching on its prey, I don't suppose the interests of the Other are uppermost in its thoughts either.

That's what too much mountain air will do to you. Thirty minutes stuck in traffic behind a bus should bring Ann back to her senses.

john said...

Paul - right on. Maybe more like the SEIP or the UAW? Just jerks, all of them.


Now I get cultsp Freaky

john said...

That would be SEIU. Sorry.

cultro. Ooh, a trend.

Methadras said...

Hummingbirds are highly territorial so that's why they act the way they do. We have several dozen of them where I live and they are constantly battling each other for territory of the bird feeder. I put out a giant bird feeder and they just flock to it. Considering that their heart rates regulate all the way from 50 bpm all the way to 1200-1500 bpm makes them just magnificent examples of divine engineering.

Juris Dentist said...

Cares only for itself

Sounds like it should be your theme bird, Annie!

Paddy O. said...

Yeah, but they pluck spiders off their web and are great at getting other flying bugs.

Sometimes we need the jerks because it's the jerks that take care of the pests.

Just Lurking said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

Those humming birds (Ruby Throated I'm thinking) are downright social next to the male Rufus hummers I get at my feeders. I get Rufus and Broad Tailed and a single Rufus will keep three feeders entirely clear of other hummers.

Well, the others dip in while he's off guarding a different feeder, so they don't give up and leave. They're tenacious things.

I'd heard that the name for hummers in Central or South America was the word for soldier.

Anyone know if that's true?

Tibore said...

"If you could read their thoughts, translated into English, it would be:"Get the fuck out of my way. This is mine, all mine."

I'm afraid you got that wrong Professor. It would be more like:

"GetthefuckouttamywayThisisMINEALLMINEMINEMINEMINEMINEMINE".

... except it would sound waaaay faster. Like it was recorded and played back at 20x. :)

bearbee said...

Don't mock. One of natures pollinators.

Capt. Schmoe said...

All of that greed, flitting around and senseless chirping reminded me of the media swarming around the Octo-Mom when the brought the kids home!!

Just Lurking said...

Your post could be an entry for "Fuck You, Penguin".

traditionalguy said...

Short animals are always feisty and teritorial(See, Nancy Pelossi). But that is no reason for hummers acting unsociable around other birds and bees. What natural enemies eat hummingbirds? Probably men.

Will said...

Since they're always on the verge of starving to death, it makes sense for hummingbirds to try and protect their food supply. That's not being an asshole, that's just nature.

And besides, I love watching them get into dogfights. It's amazing how maneuverable and quick they are.

peter hoh said...

I once witnessed a monarch butterfly chase a hummingbird away from a liatris.

ricpic said...

Naturally aggressive is the term, not asshole or jerk.

john said...

I don't think a humingbird can get into a dogfight.

gadents. Sounds like Lord of the Rings.

Paddy O. said...

"I love watching them get into dogfights."

I call them jousts. Especially when two hummers who must be about social equals are fighting. They fly right at each other, though I don't think they ever quite run into each other.

john said...

No teeth.

Pete the Streak said...

No teeth, maybe, but a helluva bayonet.

Reid Farmer said...

But they are beautiful and fun to watch. At my feeder here in Denver I get Rufous, Broad-tailed, and Calliope hummingbirds.

I had about a dozen out there yesterday. They gang up this time of year getting ready for their migration. Hard to think of those little guys flying all the way down to Guatemala for the winter

mrs whatsit said...

Oh, but they do -- run into each other, that is -- and on purpose, too. Just the other night, we saw a male dive-bomb a female who was trying to get to the feeder on our porch. (He spends a lot of time perched on a dead sugar-maple branch over the feeder, where it's easy for him to drop out of the sky onto unwitting trespassers.) He whacked right into her -- we saw them hit and heard the thump of impact along with a little squeak of dismay from the female. They both flew off, but she showed up without him a few minutes later, nothing daunted, and had a nice drink.

Chip Ahoy said...

Aren't they adorable? I told you they're bastards, but I like bastards.

Chip Ahoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

Thanks for showing them. I don't get them downtown near the capitol but I'm thinking of taking the camera up to the foothills just to get some pictures of the darling little bastards.

All that tweeting, I never heard such tweeting. All I ever heard was Hummmmmmmm Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Hummmmmmm Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Hummmmmmmm

AllenS said...

Hummingbirds are nicer than Hillary Clinton.

Word Verification: plinger

bagoh20 said...

They have virtually no natural predation on them. Their superior aviation combined with that beak and the Hillary attitude, makes them very difficult to catch and eat. They do sometimes get ambushed by a large Praying Mantis, which has got to be the worst way to go - slowly eaten alive by an insect. That's why I believe the Indian ant hill death must be the worst, unless you count that horrible water boarding.

And off goes the thread to terrible OT hell.

elHombre said...

Since they're always on the verge of starving to death, it makes sense for hummingbirds to try and protect their food supply.

Exactly! I'm the same way about my food supply.

Although I frequently succumb to the temptation to be an asshole even when food is not involved.

Simon Kenton said...

I have seen one male Broadtail strike (I almost said 'stab') another in the back at the feeder.

You need to change the ratio of sugar to water. Ratios more concentrated than 4:1 induce the guarding behavior. Try 5:1.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

The only word I've ever heard for hummingbird during all my time in Latin America is colibri. A soldier is soldado and I've never heard it applied to a bird of any sort.

We get dozens of them here when the greenhouses are full of flowers, always Rubies except for one spring when fires in Colorado drove many of the western hummers east.

Of course they all think they've just won the Power Ball when they find one of our greenhouses. What most people don't know about them is that they're enthusiastic insectivores; they actually reduce our populations of fungus gnats and shore flies.

And they really are as clueless as indicated above. Twice in the last eight years I've had to rescue one that got stuck in our poly because (s)he flew into it hard enough to penetrate right up to the base of the bill and couldn't back out.

NKVD said...

A 5:1 ratio of sugar to water? Measured how?

Verification word "diabetes".

chuck b. said...

Do you want to see a praying mantis kill a hummingbird?

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hummingbird+praying+mantis&search_type=

I thought so.

NKVD said...

Well now, that's not such a good thing to watch after eating.

I have a hummingbird feeder right outside my window, watch them as I type. I also like praying mantises, but now I will look at them a bit differently. Who knew an insect could kill a hummingbird. Learn something every day.

WV - vomitus

bagoh20 said...

" The only word I've ever heard for hummingbird during all my time in Latin America is colibri. A soldier is soldado and I've never heard it applied to a bird of any sort."

Mexicans I know call them "chuparosa" - literally "rose sucker". It's also the name of a flowering desert plant.

Freeman Hunt said...

I had no idea they could be so loud.

Speaking of the first tag, some fool just thought that the post on my blog about my Dad's cancer treatment would be a good place to debate me about the health care bill.

Not so much so much as not.

/delete

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garage mahal said...

I never see them fight over flowers. I have several salvias in pots, and hummers just love them, especially the black and blue variety. Wonderfully aromatic too.

bagoh20 said...

"A 5:1 ratio of sugar to water? Measured how?"

I have a lot of these guys at my house that I feed. I go by volume: Use a graduated container (I use a glass measuring pitcher) Fill with sugar to 50ml fill with water to 300ml. Roughly 5-6 : 1 They love it and it keeps their hips from getting too big.

NKVD said...

That sounds more like a 5:1 ratio of water to sugar.

WV - isthaturbeak

bagoh20 said...

"That sounds more like a 5:1 ratio of water to sugar."

Damn! No wonder they can't fly. They just hang out in hammocks hanging off the feeder. Watching Oprah though my window.

WV: gednew?

bagoh20 said...

So that's where the remote went.


WV: fershyp = The practice of wearing fur during sex?

NKVD said...

I KNOW!!! Hummingbirds may be crunchy, but they don't like crunchy drinks.

WV - fengfk2008

Shanna said...

Last time I was in Durango we watched all the hummingbirds fighting over the sugar water and there was a red one that was especially mean, and then some others that were kind of meek. Fun to watch.

chickenlittle said...

One of our cats really likes stalking and catching hummingbirds. We have an australian bottlebrush tree with red flowers that attracts them. The cat will climb the tree and lie in wait for the perfect pounce.

JAL said...

Somewhere in the last year or two
-- Instapundit, maybe -- there was a link to something on hummingbirds.

The writer stated that if they were the size of cats or dogs or horses, they would rule -- or at least terrify -- the world. Think tyrannesaurus rex. They are supposed to be really vicious.

I have had them zing up to me, hover, and decide, rightly so, that I wasn't going to taste very sweet.

VW = gasili
Silly over gas, I guess. (Much better than my first possibility. That one was close to being obscene)

EDH said...

"Get the fuck out of my way. This is mine, all mine."

It's not just hummingbirds.

It's ducks too.

Specifically, Daffy Duck, The Happy Miser.

A classic.

Triangle Man said...

Hummingbirds, ducks, and...

Seagulls!

Lem said...

I thought we were not supposed to feed wild animals.

Its a violation of the prime directive.

John Burgess said...

The only difference I see between this and a kegger is that these guys have better plumage.

|| nessigr ||

Triangle Man said...

Speaking of hungry jerks, please feed the commenters Althouse!

jacksonianlawyer said...

Thank GOD...I was beginning to wonder if this most pressing issue would EVER get the due-discourse it requires...

Jason (the commenter) said...

Is Althouse lashing out at her readers? We are all hummingbirds at her feeder after all.

At least she admits to doling out colored sugar water!

Kirby Olson said...

Hummingbirds hum like hoboes with oboes.

Cedarford said...

Maybe we need to create a category of "well-liked assholes".

Hummingbirds and people.

Frank Sinatra was an asshole, but well-liked.
RFK was an asshole, but well-liked.
Charles Barkley is an asshole, but an engaging one.
Mitt Romney is an inadvertent, "nice guy who means well, probably a good Prez though" asshole.

Quasimodo said...

i've seen geese fight nearly to the death. humming birds are mild by comparison. Duck are nasty too as has been pointed out

John Lynch said...

The farther away from nature we get, the more we pretend that it's nice.

traditionalguy said...

OK, I'll ask the question. Why do the hummingbirds have an "Asshole" tag for acting like normal hummingbirds? Could this be a touch of anthropomorphism entering into the Professor's views after too many days mixing among the locals in darkest Ouray?

Christy said...

I have a large stand of cardinal lobelia under my kitchen window and enjoy watching the hummingbirds have at 'em. Just 2 days ago I watched one chase a newcomer into the leatherleaf mahonia and fly a guarding pattern -10 inches right, 10 inches left - back and forth so many times I lost count. I'd never realized how territorial they were. I take great joy in watching them. Monarda, a.k.a. Bee Balm, is also great for drawing them.

knox said...

They are probably just giving you flashbacks to the bat/rabies incident. It's not their fault!

word verif: "hantible"

Freeman Hunt said...

Nature is mean. And pretty. I'm sure that an analogy could be made there somewhere, but I'm too tired to brainstorm the names of the mean and pretty.

amba said...

No shit. I was just thinking the same thing. A friend gave us a feeder, and they'd rather chase each other away and guard it than drink. They're vicious. Hummingbirds in the manger.

Largo said...

Just Lurking,

I'll see your "Fuck You, Penguin" and raise you a Bastard Penguin.

(I once got many of my sixth grade students to insert that clip into their Powerpoint presentations on Antarctica -- great fun! [-: )

ricpic said...

A praying mantis ate a hummingbird,
Then daintily licked its fingers,
Then daintily dropped a tiny turd
And some undigested feathers.

Pogo said...

"Hummingbirds are jerks".

Mebbe they just have jet lag.

Issob Morocco said...

Seemed very similar to the current Ruling Political Class. Consider the feeders the golden health care Congress gets and the non-hummingbirds us little folk. Nice visual to what is happening currently in DC.

Nay, Nay, do as I say!

kynefski said...

Maybe they're only assholes around feeders. In our back yard, we make them stick to butterfly bushes and bee balm, and they're really quite polite.

Fred4Pres said...

You just assume they are assholes, but they just operate about 1000x faster than you do. What appears to be rude and inconsiderate is really a polite and civil exchange.

Big Mike said...

Hummingbirds aren't jerks. Squirrels are jerks.

amba said...

What a perfect lead-in to this post on both hummingbirds AND squirrels. The world seems to have hummers on the brain:

Hummers only seem dainty and frail to those who have not tried to feed them. The Aztecs identified them as the gods of war, and once you encounter them, you understand why this was. Once you put out a hummingbird feeder (or plant the kind of flowers they like), you find that they go to war over who has the right to eat there.

When we planted a lovely bush with red cup-shaped flowers in back of our screened-in porch in Texas, we attracted what I called "The Sentinel Hummer." He would dart down to sip from one of the flowers occasionally, but most of the time he sat on one of the bush's branches, ready to chase away any other hummingbird to dared to try to do the same.

Fred4Pres said...

I am sure Ann can come up with earrings made of skinned hummingbirds. Give her a chance.

Rockport Conservative said...

I live in a community that has a Hummingbird Festival every fall.
We are in the central flyway. The first two years I was in this home in the woods we put up feeders. The second year over Labor Day weekend I used 30 lbs of sugar in two days. All we did was feed, feed, feed. You could hear them all over our 7 acres. I was reminded of "the Birds" and ever so thankful they are not larger. They are vicious little critters. If only 2 or 3 are around they fight almost to the death and get no eating done, too busy chasing. If there are thousands they seem to stand in line to take turns.
Very interesting. But I no longer put up feeders here. If you go off and leave for a week and come back to them, you will find dead hummers. So I don't even start it anymore. I do, however have them show up to try the flowers and just say hello.

Big Mike said...

@Rockport, the sugar water has to be changed daily, otherwise it acts like the agar in a Petri dish and bacteria and mold can grow there.

Even if they don't, the sugar water can ferment. From your comments about hummingbird carcasses I infer that they can't hold their liquor.