Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Hummingbird Wars

During our amazing December warm spell, right before the record-breaking big rains in southern California, I noticed intermittent buzzing sounds in my bicolor tree mallow, followed by feathery swooping things whizzing by my head.

malva and the bee, originally uploaded by luvarugula.
No way could I ID them visually as all I saw was a blur, the usual for me with hummingbirds. Although a novice birder, I use sound so I knew they weren't Anna's nor Costa's. When it escalated to be quite the epic battle I wandered over to the tree mallow and came upon one fearless hummer, refusing to budge as he sat on a nearby branch as though daring me to do something. Fine, I thought, I'll get a shot of you so I left to get my camera. When I came back, he was still there so here he is, giving me the evil eye. An Allen's, I think. hummer number one

Then along came the other hummer, a bit larger and greener. It chased Allen number one off but hummer number two was a bit more elusive after he secured the tree, so skittish so I couldn't get a better shot.

hummer number two, originally uploaded by luvarugula.

Allen number one, of course, came back in full attack mode. At which point, I needed to leave. But all throughout this month, even in our epic rain, I could still hear them battling even though I couldn't quite see them.

I'm wondering if they are migrating through. I usually don't see Allen's as much as Anna's hummingbirds.

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