Date: 6/29/20 3:49 am From: Robert Mussey <mussey.robert...> Subject: [MASSBIRD] hummers fledge during thunderstorms
Imagine your maiden flight taking place after very little instruction, and during a wild afternoon of driving and torrential thunderstorms. That's what happened at our hummingbird feeders yesterday in Milton. It repeats a fledge-while-wet pattern that has occurred 5 of the last 10 years since I've been recording details. One year fledging took place during a hurricane-remnant storm, but always during heavy downpours. I guess it just gets too miserable in that crowded little nest, and the pair of would-bes has finally had enough--so here goes, flight or bust.
This year we've had 4 adult females and 2 adult males using our 4 feeders. A 3-porter is suction-cupped to the kitchen window, a 6-porter is close behind it in the garden, and two other 6-porters are dispersed on posts at other garden locations. You would think there was plenty to go around. But yesterday the fledglings found the window feeder first, probably led there by their mother. So that's where all their energies were focused, and it was absolute chaos at that one feeder.
You can tell the youngsters because they have not learned the hummingbird rules of the road, i.e., always wait for your elders, and always yield to the males. Not for them. There was a boiling maelstrom of little feathered bodies, all drenched, vying for those 3 window ports. It was hilarious madness, and fun to watch. Without rules, none got to spend more than a few seconds before it was driven off by another. Now it's 4 females, 2 males, and 2 indeterminate juveniles who will all learn their places eventually.
The moral of the story? 6 beaks do not fit into 3 ports at the same time. Who needs a rom-com on television when you've got hummingbirds out your window?