Date: 8/31/17 12:01 pm
From: David Gardner (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Attempted Hummingbird Predation
Hi folks,
Most of my hummingbird feeders are hanging from snake and raccoon proof feeder poles, but I have a few hanging from trees. Apart from the occasional issue with Squirrels tilting and guzzling the sweet nectar, I haven't had any problems until yesterday.
Yesterday morning I walked out the house to a racket of hummers... at least 6 were frenetically buzzing around this one bush which has two of my feeders on it. I couldn't figure out why until I looked more closely at the feeder. A juvenile Eastern Ratsnake (perhaps 12 inches long) was coiled on top of the high perch dish feeder I have from WBU. His neck was in the characteristic S shape of a snake in ambush predator position.
I chose to leave the snake alone because the whole hummingbird family was clearly very aware of the threat and there were two other feeders within eyesight that were perfectly safe. There was no hummingbird sized bulge in the snakes belly either.
I came home around 7pm to find the snake had not moved and had fortunately still not been successful. By 9pm it had moved on.
I'm curious as to whether this is a commonly observed behavior. I would assume that an arboreal snake like the eastern Ratsnake would perhaps regularly hide in trumpet vine and crossvine in wait for unsuspecting hummers.
Fascinating.
I will most likely be reconsidering where to place the feeders to minimize this issue again.
Happy Birding,
David
Director of Environmental Education
St. Christopher Camp & Conference Center
Seabrook Island, SC

FYI - I have a photo of the snake on the feeder of anyone is interested, I will happily send you the photo.

Sent from my iPhone
 
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