There is a battle for territory being waged in my backyard this summer.
It begins before the sun is up. One bird is nearly as wide as he is tall, with a paunch and an air of entitlement. He obviously thinks that I fill the feeder just for him since he spends most of the day there. His nemesis, by comparison, is a waif of a bird. She is tall (for a hummingbird) with a really long neck and tufts of fluff where her tail feathers should be. When she gets the chance (which isn’t often) she drinks furtively, trying to fill up before the next air raid commences. I’ve watched this pair most of the summer. He wins most of the battles through intimidation and brute force.
I was watching the feeder this morning, contemplating how it is possible for a bird so small to be able to terrorize much of anything when the chubby one showed up for breakfast, perching on the circular wire in front of one of the four red plastic flowers attached to the base of the feeder. Suddenly, the skinny one arrived, sitting down in front of the flower to the left of the other bird. Well, THIS isn’t going to last long, I thought. I figured that the chubby one would stop gorging himself on syrup long enough to realize that he had company and send her packing for the millionth time since May.
But then, the most amazing thing happened.
The skinny one glanced at her piggy partner out of the corner of her tiny hummingbird eye and then very slowly began hopping around to the other side of the feeder until she was seated directly across from him. The only way that Chubby could see her was to look through the clear glass cylinder. At one point he seemed to get an inkling that he had company, but kept eating anyway. Maybe he thought he was seeing his reflection instead of the skinny bird who was contentedly feeding away only inches away…drinking HIS syrup! At HIS feeder!
He might be bigger, but she is smarter.
It is always August too soon for me. The month of wild blueberries in the woods and back to school sales in the stores. Too soon, I will move back indoors from the porch where I sleep with all the windows open to the night air and night sounds from June until whenever. Too soon, my hummingbirds will feel the chill in the air and start making their own travel plans for places where flowers bloom year ’round.
But for now, it is August. Sweet August.
And while I still can, I’ll keep watching the drama that unfolds on the other side of the screen at dawn, rooting for the one with the higher IQ.