Stealthy Hummingbirds

When last we saw our small and zippy avian heroes, there were a bunch of them around but one highly territorial dude which I had named Little Bastard because he constantly drives off all of the others.

So I was surprised to see this hummingbird (a female black-chinned hummingbird? best guess) in the bushes where Little Bastard always roosts.

She stayed back in the shadows, but I’ve seen her zipping around the yard for several days, usually being chased off after a quick hit on one of the feeders.

A week or so later, Little Bastard decided to sit still and pose in the sunbeams penetrating “his” fruit tree.

I think he’s a male Anna’s Hummingbird. The most prominent feature when you see him at the feeder or chasing other hummers away from “his” feeders is that brilliantly red head and chin area.

But as the branches bounced around and he would occasionally be in the sun, the color and iridescence on those feathers was astonishing. Here those “red” feathers seem to be bright yellow.

And here they’re bright orange.

And here it looks like a streak of green starting right under his beak and going downward!

The other really odd thing I saw today was him allowing other hummers at the feeders. At one point I was outside and saw seven or eight in the yard, with three or four feeding at a time while Little Bastard would occasionally chase one or two others around.

Did they figure out a way to gang up on him, letting some serve as decoys while the others feed? Did they finally beat up on him to take back control of the feeders? Or is there some other incomprehensible bit of hummingbird logic going on?

Who knows, but having a bunch of hummingbirds out there every day would be fantastic!

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