No, I am not going to pontificate on the NCAA basketball tournament in progress, though the testosterone-driven excitement around the games certainly parallels the changes that I see in the hummingbirds in my yard. Anna’s Hummingbirds have been chasing each other around like ballistic missiles with hyperdrive all month. When a surprising snowstorm raged through Arizona in the final two days before the vernal equinox, it was shocking to see zipping flashes of hot pink though the snowflakes. When I would replace a feeder of frozen nectar with fresh liquid, the feisty little birds buzzed my head as if annoyed that I was not out there at the crack of dawn with sugary elixir. Patience is not a hummingbird virtue. Continue reading
Dining has its dangers. And I don’t mean indigestion or choking on a bone. I’m talking hazards for the local seed-eating birds—the doves, quail, sparrows, juncos, and finches that check out the seeds that I scatter on the ground each morning.
Winter’s icy chill has descended on this part of Arizona, and recent snow has frozen into a crunchy crust. Little soil is exposed, and even the shrubs continue to bear heavy blobs of snow. These are lean times for seed-eating birds; there is no dietary margin for error. Find enough to eat or die. Continue reading