Tuesday, August 28, 2007

About Hummingbird Fighting

I saw tonight that someone on a hummingbird forum had mentioned my blog and the fighting hummingbirds. Another person commented that maybe I should "take up knitting-with acrylic yarn".
I guess I'm a little bit offended by that comment and I'd like to expound on this subject just in case there may be others who think I need to give up gardening and take up knitting.

Not too long ago I posted a picture of a praying mantis eating a beetle. I was excited over actually seeing a mantis eating something. I wasn't horrified at the thought, because it was expected behavior. I knew that praying mantis are beneficial insects because they eat harmful insects. Again, it was expected behavior.

I love to observe nature, and I know that there is a food chain cycle. Even though it is natural, it did make me sad the other day when I saw a neighbor's cat eating one of the birds at my bird feeder. I felt like I had caused the bird to be bait, but I knew it was expected cat behavior and wasn't shocked by it.

I've watched the hummingbirds fighting over the feeder for days and it was fun to watch because it was expected behavior. I already knew they were very territorial. What was unexpected behavior to me was the fighting to kill. It was shocking to see the hummingbird stabbing the obviously already injured hummingbird in the head trying to kill it. I thought a few days before that they were fighting to kill and was concerned, but thought, no, they wouldn't really hurt each other. I had no idea they could be so vicious. I thought they were just cute little interesting birds and had this sweet image of them in my mind. It was a shock for me to witness such unexpected violence.

Most of us would be shocked to see a dog viciously attack another dog, for some it is sport, for most others it would be horrifying to witness. Watching the hummingbird attack was just as shocking for me.

I'm just a city girl, always have been, I don't knit, never have and don't plan to start now, but I do love flower gardening and learning about nature, even with the unpleasant and unexpected lessons.

Edited to say: Obviously some guys feel differently about hummingbird fights. The hummingbird on this blog is actually bloody from a fight.


Barbara said...

Reading shirls gardenwatch, I found your interesting blog with your wonderful pictures. I'll certainly come back again.
Greetings from Switzerland, Barbara

Julia said...

I'm sorry you felt you had to explain yourself because of someone's rather obnoxious comment. I would certainly feel similarly if I'd see a hummer injured in such a way.

How lucky to have so many painted ladies. I almost never see them.

Carolyn gail said...

Don't give much weight to those snide remarks from people who seem to be full of venom.

Being upset by the hummingbird's violent and unexpected behavior is quite natural and shows that you have a kind heart.

It should be obvious to anyone reading your blog that you love gardening and nature and you've captured it very well in your posts.

Pam/Digging said...

Robin, don't give a snide comment any more of your thought or energy. That's not how garden-bloggers generally behave toward each other anyway, so maybe that person should be the one doing the knitting.

As a side note, when did knitting become an insulting activity? Bizarre.

Keep up the good blogging!

Connie said...

Robin, Shake off the rude comment and keep up your great gardening and blogging... I, for one, really enjoy visiting here!

Bisbee Border Birder Bloggers said...

Just to clear up a second misinterpretation, that "bloody" hummingbird in the other blog is just a young male Ruby-throated molting in his red gorget feathers. I've been watching hummingbirds for over 30 years and studying them scientifically for almost 20, and out of tens of thousands of birds I've never seen a bloody one.

Bev said...

Robin, I'm with you. I'd have felt the same way, and I also feel bad when I see a cat get a bird..or a fox get a cat... so on. You are a wonderful gardener and person. Keep at it, and I hope you don't have to put up with any more rude comments.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Barbara, Thank you so much for leaving such a nice comment and welcome to Robin's Nesting Place.

Thanks, Julia, I'm glad to know others would be upset by the fighting too. I have been surprised by the number of painted ladies here.

Carolyn Gail, thank you for the kind comments you made my day.

Pam, I was surprised by the persons comment too because I've found garden bloggers to be some of the nicest people around.

Thanks, Connie, I'm very glad you've enjoyed my blog.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Bisbee Border Birder Bloggers, thank you so much for clearing that up. The hummingbird on that blog actually did look bloody to me too, I'm glad to know it was just molting feathers.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Bev, thank you. I do think most gardeners are very nurturing people by nature and I think most really do care about even the smallest creatures.

Annie in Austin said...

Like Pam/Digging, I put in lots of hummingbird plants but have no feeders. The plants are scattered around and I haven't seen any fights so far, Robin. A couple of times I was in the path between the bird and the blossom and was zoomed by a hummingbird with beak used as a weapon.

Weapon? Wait a minute... didn't Homeland security classify knitting needles as weapons? If you did take up knitting [what's the point of specifying acrylic yarn ..fear of sheep??] at least you'd have some way to defend yourself.

From another fan of Robin's Nesting Place,

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Annie, you are too funny. I think the point of specifying acrylic yarn was meant to be a dig against those who are animal rights activist. At least that was how I took it.

You ladies are the greatest, thanks so much for your kind, thoughtful and encouraging posts today.

Naturegirl said...

I for one love your concern and gentle caring spirit when you observe Nature! I surely would be doing as you did!!
About the cats instinct: I *DO NOT*
tame my chimpmunk visitors in my garden because when my cats are out in the garden with me I want the chimpmunk to skiddadle..if you know what I mean...I know of neighbors who tame and the little guys become too trusting!! Resulting in you know what!

Ignore those nasty comments!
hugs NG

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Hi Robin-I've updated my hummingbird post, since now I'm thinking that mine actually is just a molting male. And I second what everyone else said about ignoring those snide remarks-I would seriously worry about anyone who didn't go and help the injured bird.

"Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, beyond th reach of any magic, is a truth he never grasped." To that quote by Dumbledore to Harry Potter, I would only add, "and of kindness to weaker creatures."

ginger said...

I agree with everyone else aout doing your best to ignore the rude comments... I love your blog and find it a great inspiration.

My mother is here from California this week, and my oldest son is having a ball with her. They caught a praying mantis and have been catching all sorts of bugs, including bees, to feed to it. This is life, and it is interesting!

Bridget said...

I know the feeling!
I caught two dueling hummingbirds w/ my camera~ I'm going to attempt to link it here, hope it works.
I have about 6 hummingbirds around my house now....4 feeders out there...hoping they will share!