Monday, July 16, 2012

Wasps, Hummingbirds, & Sin

Not a combo you think about much, is it?

Our little male black-chinned hummingbird has staked out our hummingbird feeder for his missus, and woe unto any other male hummingbird that comes to feed. His female comes to feed, and if another male tries to drive her off, then our male swoops in on the usurper and they engage in quite a martial display. What other creature can turn the tables on our little over-eager male hummie and drive him away? A wasp.
Of course, the wasps love the sugar water; they stick their little tongues into the feeder, and enjoy the sweetness. If the wasps are stationed on the feeder, the male hummie will come in and seek a spot away from them. He feeds a little more anxiously than usual, and if the wasps move at all, then away he goes!
I am afraid of these small beasts as well. In trying to put fresh sugar water into the feeder, I have the unenviable task of trying to shoo the wasps away and make sure I don’t get nailed by them. They will chase me if disturbed, and the hummie is all too aware of how nasty these creatures are as well. I am disappointed by the wasps’ presence.

1 comment:

Allen Cogbill said...

You might consider getting a hummingbird feeder that has small "cages" over the outlets. The cages discourage wasps and bees, and they seem to work.

BTW, a rufous hummingbird has staked out two of our feeders, and does not appear to have a mate (he's probably migrating). He sits in a nearby pine tree and viciously attacks any other hummingbird who might eat "his" food.

From the Wiki article on hummingbirds, "Hummingbirds are typically very territorial when it comes to food; once a hummingbird finds a consistent source of food such as an artificial feeder, it will fight off other hummingbirds to maintain complete dominance over the food source."

So, we've just installed another feeder on the other side of the house. He will have a hard time being in two places at once.