Date: 3/19/17 9:00 pm
From: <Bigrocketman...>
Subject: [obol] A Hummingbird Tragedy and Mystery

It was a beautiful spring-like day, but it didn't end well for at least one or both of a pair of Anna's Hummingbirds. It was near dark and I saw them, lying on the street near my house. The male was clearly dead, but the female was alive and quivering, with her eyes shut. When I touched her, she flew up slowly and grabbed a vertical twig on a tree. I watched her for ten minutes, but she didn't move and when I touched her again, she didn't respond.

So I came back 15 minutes later and she was hanging upside-down and limp, apparently dead, but still had a death grip on the twig. But the mystery deepens, as when I returned again, 20 minutes later, she was gone. She'd been hanging over a bare sidewalk and if she'd fallen down, she would have been there, unless by slim chance, someone or something had come by during that short time and carried her away.

So was this a courtship flight, that ended when they were struck by a vehicle? Or do males and females have territorial fights, so fierce that they could result in fatal injuries? It doesn't seem likely they would both have been simultaneously injured like that, by fighting. As for the female's fate, I know that sometimes birds can be stunned by striking something and appear dead and then sometime later, wake up and fly away.

There are photos of them on my Flickr Photostream, on the current first page:

Steve McDonald, Eugene Area

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