posted by Lorraine Bartlett
For the past couple of weeks we’ve returned to the cottage to find both hummingbird feeders bone dry. Now, this was impossible. For weeks we’ve only seen two tiny birds drinking this pseudo nectar. These birds would have to be the size of vultures if they were consuming all those calories.
Backtrack. Apparently you’re supposed to do a two-to-one mixture of water and sugar, but I must’vie gotten the recipe mixed up. For years i’vie been doing a one-to-one mixture. One cup sugar--one cup water. In other words, the equivalent of liquid heroin for these tiny birds.
Well, they seem to like it.
But I digress.
So, for the past couple of weeks we’d return to find the feeders were dry. Was it the wind? We’d had a few violent storms. The wind MIGHT HAVE rocked them enough to empty them. Was it the teenagers next door? Could they be so nasty as to deprive these tiny creatures of a wee drink?
As it turns out, there were more than two birds. As we sipped our happy hour drinks the other night we saw as many as EIGHT hummingbirds fighting it out over just one of the feeders. Dogfighting it out! Yelling and screaming at one another to GET OUT OF MY WAY! As many as four birds sipped the heavenly brew while another four battled it out to be the next sippers at the faux plastic yellow flowers that adorn the feeder.
While the hummingbirds squabbled, a hawk flew up and landed on a nearby tree. Whoa! We were impressed. Out came the binoculars.
Mr. Hawk sat in the tree for almost five hours. During that time he’d occasionally turn around. It was one of these times that I noticed...ears. A poor, dead little squirrel was clutched in its talons, very stiff and minus his hind end. (Yes, no back legs or fluffy tail.) After Mr. Hawk been sitting there for three and a half hours and rigor mortis had released its hold on the squirrel, it was dinner time. We watched in fascinated horror as this majestic bird ripped the flesh from the little gray fluffy body, spitting out fur and chomping on the red meat.
So what’s better (or worse): birds who drink sugar water and attack one another, or birds who dive bomb, kill and eat other little critters?
Nature. Disney was wrong. It ain’t always cute.