Giving you the bird — and other critters

Hummingbird at feeder

This female Rubythroated Hummingbird is looking at another hummingbird just out of the picture. The exchange between the two is far from friendly.

For all of their outward appearing sweet innocence, many hummingbirds demonstrate some marked violence among their community members. We took a good look at this behavior in our hummingbird epistle on the Corndancer dot com Photo of the Week page. Click here to go there and see a couple of hummingbird pictures and read the revealing prose. We’ll wait here while you do.

The hummingbirds are a seasonal part and parcel of the Chez Dempsey menagerie. The roster includes domesticated critters in Cleo, Yoda, Cocoa, and Ruby, canines of various persuasions; and Kodak, Katy, and Chessie, felines; and a supporting cast of wild beasts including squirrels, small birds, and a respectably sized short-eared owl, who, in fact, “belongs” to the entire neighborhood. It is truly a zoo. And a veterinary bonanza.

Blue Jay

This Blue Jay, aka, "jay-bird," in correct southern parlance, is giving a piece of his mind to a squirrel approaching the bird feeder. The squirrel could care less.

We attempt to feed the birds, which is a de-facto donation to the squirrels’ nutrition plan. It would take a bird feeder with the security of Fort Knox to successfully deny a squirrel what he or she deem to be their fair share of the food largess. Sooner or later, they would breach even that, I do believe.

squirrel on tree

The invading squirrel slithers down the tree as she approaches the bird feeder. Said squirrel callously ignores the cacophony created by nearby birds as the food attack proceeds.

When the squirrel arrives at the feeder and initiates satiating her voracious appetite, she becomes an unwitting food distributor. Squirrels have table manners somewhat akin to those of fabled barbarian, Attila the Hun plus a horde of hungry Vikings. As she munches away, she ejects bits and pieces which shower to the ground. Wrens, chickadees, sparrows, and other small birds migrate to the impact area and happily peck away at the tidbits.

Squirrel on bird feeder

Now properly ensconced and in charge of the mess-hall, sister squirrel surveys "her" fiefdom. Numerous birds take serious exception to this cavalier attitude.

While the critters take this nutritional war to heart, us humans enjoy their shenanigans for entertainment value. On many occasions it surely beats what is on the tube. And also gives us pause to consider what behavioral shortcomings we may share with the critters.

But wait, there’s more!

Each week, we shoot more than we have room to show. So we put all shots, the ones we post and the “picks” that weren’t posted, in a picture-only high-resolution gallery. The pix are bigger and better. Click here to go there.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind