The hummingbirds are fighting at my feeder again. They fight all day long. I’ve discovered that there’s always a bully, and his sole purpose in life is to keep others from taking a drink from his feeder. If another hummingbird zips up and tries to get just a drop of liquid sugar, the bully swoops in, attacks, and chases him back to where he came from, and sometimes chases him all over the place. Selfish little buggers. 

Sometimes while the bully is driving another one off, a third hummingbird zooms in and gulps a sip. Instantaneously the bully knows and darts back to defend his feeder, chasing the third one off. Then they all leave for a few minutes, until it starts over again. Aggressive little brats.

Hummingbirds snatching a drink outside my kitchen window

I have the feeder outside the kitchen window, about six feet from my front door. I can see the bully lying in wait in a bush a few feet away. He’s on the alert, policing his territory. Sometimes when I go outside it feels like he’s attacking me. For something so small, his wings make a lot of disturbing noise, especially when they’re right by my head. The sound is something like a freight train coming straight at me, with the volume turned down slightly. I worry he’ll drive that long, pointed beak right into my temple. I have to crouch when I walk by the front of my house. I know good and well he’s doing it on purpose. Spiteful little creatures.

When the sugar water runs out, the bully stands on the feeder and looks in the kitchen window as if to say, “Quit stuffing your face and get your lazy, good for nothing keister out here and refill this thing right now.” He has no respect for me. He’s drinking at the neighbor’s house too, so he’s got plenty to eat – she has several feeders. Nasty little brute.

Cleaning the feeder is a pain. I’ve told you about our ant problem. I must use more caution than nurses in an isolation unit to keep every speck of sugar off the counters, or my ant enemies will show up in the millions. It’s extremely stressful. I have to carefully pour out the remaining organic sugar water down the sink (they seem to like organic the best, though it’s slightly tan instead of clear), wipe up any microscopic splash, and then take the feeder apart to clean every tiny piece. The feeders must be scrubbed carefully because they get bacteria from the hummingbirds’ beaks. Filthy little flappers.

I love my mother in law, but she’s the one who gave me the feeder. It sat for a couple of months in a closet because I knew it would be work, just like the fish that my kids have won and brought home and forgetten, leaving me to siphon fish water every few days. If you care for them, goldfish will live forever. The last one my daughter brought home is thirteen years old. That’s a lot of water changes. Oh boy!

Finally I thought it was rude not to use the feeder, so I made the sugar water and hung it where we could see it. I enjoy the hummingbirds, and they are very beautiful to look at, and it’s amazing how fast they dart in and out, but mostly what they do is fight and drink, over and over. All day long a humming bird lights on the perch, quickly taking a sip until the bully returns. I’ve never been a fan of bullies, so inviting one to my house with sugar doesn’t appeal to me. Ornery little rascals.

The upside is the knowledge that there are creatures in this world that fight more than my children. Somehow these feisty, wretched little birds give me a lot of pleasure and brighten my day for the seconds zoom in and out. I must remember to thank my mother in law again for opening my eyes to these wonderful little darlings.