Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Backyard Bully

It seems we have a backyard bully. And it is all Amanda's fault.

Two years ago Amanda ask
ed me the same thing she asks me every Christmas, Whadda ya want? Being the ever helpful mom that I am I picked out a few practical things from the Lee Valley catalogue that would make great gifts for our anticipated move to Bull River. Things like mosquito net hats, ice grippers for our hiking boots, walking sticks, hummingbird feeder, and a few other wonderful things. Amanda is a very kind, thoughtful young lady; she picked out the item she believed we would get the most enjoyment from. I could have really used those ice grippers last winter; I ended up on my keester more times than I can remember. Those mosquito net hats might come in handy this spring too. That walking stick would be useful to smack frisky bears on the nose when out hiking.

Ah, but Amanda chose the hummingbird feeder. She had no idea what one little hummingbird feeder was going to do to our peaceful Dusty Acres.

Gary finally pulled the 'make hummingbird feeder stand' from the job jar a week ago. It didn't take him long to find some left over rebar then bend and weld it into the proper shape (he can be quite creative, although some would call this frugal). I made up a nice sweet syrup, filled up the beautiful feeder and hung it just outside our dining room window. And waited. Nothing, no hummers.

It took a few
days, but those little hummers finally found the sweet stuff. Before I knew it the whole dang flock of hummingbirds was swooping and diving around the feeder. So the entertainment began. Then wouldn't you know it, they start to get territorial. The male hummingbird guards that feeder all day long, doing his best to chase away any intruders, bullying the hummers that try and sneak a snack.


After watching these little flying darts for a while I realized what they were doing. One or two females would fly close to the feeder, getting the bully to chase them around the front of the house, then half a dozen or so other female hummers would converge on the feeder and slurp back the syrup. Those females, so smart. They had no problem sharing the wealth of food.

Now I am trying to figure out how to resolve the bullying. Do I just let nature takes it course by leaving well enough alone, or do I get another feeder, set it a little ways away and see if they can't all get along and share the nectar. Or is that just going to make the problem worse. Such a dilema. They didn't cover this in conflict management 101.

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