The quirky habits of El Cerrito hummingbirds

DEAR JOAN: We’re on the hill overlooking the Bay, and we have a property wall that runs north to south. On the east side of the wall is a framed mural that juts out about 3 inches.

On a very windy day I noticed a hummingbird perched on the frame. Every few minutes the bird would rise above the wall and fly furiously in place into the wind. It did this over and over again, lowering back to the frame to catch its breath before doing it again. I guess sometimes it’s just about the thrill of it.

One afternoon in my backyard there was a ruckus in a nearby tree between a squirrel and a jay. I assume it involved a peanut or something equally valuable. As I moved to get a closer look three hummingbirds arrived on the scene and hovered nearby.

They arranged themselves as if in conference until one split off and flew into the tree. After several moments the noise began to wane and the bird flew out and rejoined the others. They conferred again momentarily and flew off.

Busybody or peacemaker? I’m thinking busybody.

Meg McHugh, El Cerrito

DEAR MEG: You are a keen observer of nature.

I’m not sure what was going on in either instance, but I have a few thoughts. Because hummers have a unique wing and joint configuration, they can easily hover in both wind and calm, although hovering in the wind requires a greater expense of energy. The bird might have been protecting its territory from another hummer, unseen by you, or it might have been looking for a mate to court, or checking out a nearby food source.

Hummers do enjoy a good shower, after which they find a place to sit, preen and dry their feathers, so this hummer might have been testing the dryness of its wings.

As for the conclave of hummers observing the squirrel and jay argument, I’d say the one bird was trying to get a closer look at what was going on, perhaps to see if nectar or insects were involved, but definitely not trying to make peace between those enemies.

DEAR JOAN: Last week you had a letter from a vegetable gardener who has a problem with rats eating tomatoes. I am a long time vegetable gardener and I am pleased to report that I have found a solution to the conundrum.

I also have tried lethal means of controlling rats. I

Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle

      

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