May 15, 2013

The Hummingbird Scale of Badass-ery

Black-chinned hummingbirds (National Park Service)
I snicker a little every time that I see a stained-glass "sun catcher" with a hummingbird image, or anything like that.

Is there anything more vicious than a hummingbird? They live in bird Valhalla — they would rather fight than eat.

Right now, our hummingbird feeders attract two species: broad-tailed and black-chinned. (And very rarely a calliope, but I am not considering them here.)

Movie poster (Wikipedia).
Yes, we feed them,  and in return we have a continuous showing of The Dawn Patrol on the veranda — heavy drinking followed by aerial combat.

This website collects references to hummingbirds in various American Indian mythologies (without sources or context), but I am going with the Aztecs: they are reincarnated warriors.

The black-chinned hummingbirds seem to have a slim advantage over the broad-tailed hummers in airborne bluff and intimidation, but the real nasties are the rufous hummingbirds, who show up mid-summer on their southbound migration. They are "the feistiest," according to Cornell University's All About Birds website.

They rule the skies for a couple of weeks and then, mercifully, are gone.


Mark Farrell-Churchill said...

Spot on. I used to feed rubythroats (the only game in town) when I lived in Georgia, and it was like the Battle of Britain out there.

Steve Bodio said...

Tom Quinn painted a hummer facing off with a G Horned Owl & called it "Two Tyrants".