Sugar-crack and feisty birds

My family owns its fair share of pets that live inside, but besides all the house pets, there always seems to be animals that show up at my house or in the backyard. For instance, there’s a group of hummingbirds that have made a home at the Garcia residence.

My mom decided to invest in a hummingbird feeder. She’s always found them to be such cute, petite and harmless animals. Little did she know how vicious those little birds could be.

Hummingbirds are feisty little creatures – true story. It’s only a myth that they are timid.

Hummingbird feeder

After hanging the bird feeder in the backyard, we started to get a few hummingbirds coming back daily for more sugar-water.  There are about five regulars that live in my backyard who rapidly deplete the supply of food my mom puts out. She had to buy a second feeder to avoid overcrowding and to keep them well fed.

Mother had a bright idea to spike the feeder with extra sugar to “re-energize” these birds. Apparently they burn a million calories by flapping their tiny wings 50 to 90 times per second. I think it was her new concoction that inhibited the changes that soon commenced.

Tiny things always have an inferiority complex. The same goes with hummingbirds, or at least hummingbirds in groups. The smallest – and fattest – of the birds decided it wanted to be the head honcho and constantly babysit the two feeders. Every time another hummingbird came down to sip on that sugar-crack, the little guy would attack. Here he is:

The Head Honcho

Those little things use their sharp, pointy beaks as weapons and fly at each other in battle. They even do this to my dogs and the humans of the house if anyone gets too close.  “Sugar-crack” quickly became an understatement because it’s as if those birds fight for their drugs and make sure no one trespasses in their “barrio.”

On top of that, they are loud as hell! They are not discrete when the battles commence. They let the world hear all of their hummingbird fighting words.

Since the little guy wasn’t letting anyone take a drink, my mom moved the two feeders about eight feet away from each other down the fence. Of course, this was not a problem for the runt of the group. Mister feisty decided his new thing would be to sit on the fence right smack in the middle of the two feeders and guard them with his life. If someone went to one feeder, he’d handle that bird and go back to his post. This went on for days.

One day, some of the other hummingbirds got smart and decided to double-team the little one. Their strategy was to each go to a different feeder at the same time so the little guy couldn’t handle both feeders. They’d tire him out by flying back and forth between the two and have little battles. After a while, enough was enough. Two of the hummingbirds decided to take their fight up in the air out of sight. All we could hear were the loud, high-pitch chirping/yelling of the battle.

Next thing we knew, the little one was nowhere to be found and the other two were back to happily drinking their sugar-crack. Soon, however, the little guy appeared back at his post between the two feeders, except this time, his feathers were all jacked up and he was twitching! The other birds kept on drinking and the little guy just sat and watched in agony.

I learned pretty quickly not to mess with hummingbirds. They can be super territorial, but I’ll admit that it’s pretty amazing watching them at work. Apparently there are ways to play with hummingbirds using a water hose. I don’t know if I’ll be trying that one anytime soon, but someone should give it a shot.

After researching some basic facts about hummingbirds, I quickly found out that they suffer from habitat destruction. There are a bunch of conservation efforts out there that I was not aware of. For instance, the World Wildlife Fund has an Adopt a Hummingbird  program to help raise money and awareness. Here is another list of programs and organizations that are fighting for the survival of these amazing, yet feisty little birds.


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