A tiff at my bird feeder

ANNOUNCEMENT: We had so much fun yesterday at Renee La Tulippe’s blog post on NO WATER RIVER of an interview and recording of me reading a poem that I want to urge today’s visitors to click over to join the conversation or merely to read the interview or hear the poem (from COWBOYS). Here’s the link: http://www.nowaterriver.com/poetry-monday-cookie-by-david-l-harrison Renee is doing something unique by collecting 3-minute videos of poets reading from their work. Whether you are a poet seeking the sound of other poets’ voices, a teacher looking for a wonderful resource for your poetry unit, or young readers who want to learn more about some of their favorite poets, I recommend Renee’s site to one and all.

Hi everyone,

Saturday I witnessed a standoff between a ruby-throated hummingbird that came to the feeder,
and a large praying mantis that has taken up residence there lately.

The feeder hangs on a shepherd hook and the mantis has discovered a rich source of protein in the small moths and other insects that frequent the feeder. Hummingbirds are rare but when I looked out the window, the tiny bird was perched on the top of the staff, a few inches from the mantis, which was clinging like a slender green statue to the shank of the staff. They were very much aware of each other.

After a time, the hummingbird spent a few seconds feeding and then flashed away in the sun to the safety of a leafy branch. The mantis slowly inched along the hook until it eventually found its way down the feeder itself. At the bottom, just below the openings where visitors seek the sweet man-made nectar within, it took up residence.

I wasn’t worried for the hummingbird. After all, it was much bigger than the insect. Then I looked up the feeding habits of a mantis and discovered pictures of hummingbirds killed by these voracious creatures.

At that point I went for the broom. It took a while to coax the mantis onto the bristles for the short ride to our double stand of lilac shrubs where small purple blossoms attract a wide variety of skippers, bumblebees, wasps, butterflies, honeybees, dragonflies, and, yes, other mantises. After a few minutes I managed to deliver mine to the bushes and was feeling relieved. At that moment the whirring of hummingbird wings near my face brought me eye to eye with the hummingbird, or maybe it was a female (I think the other was male). She looked me over to see if I meant well, and zipped away.

And that is the story of my Saturday.


5 comments on “A tiff at my bird feeder

  1. What an extraordinary sight that must hve been, David. I would never have thought that a mantis could kill a hummingbird.
    In all the excitement yesterday I forgot to say how whip-cracking awesome your cowboy poem is.

    • Good morning, Catherine,
      Thank you for getting my day off to such a nice start. I have one Skype session today and otherwise a full day of writing stretching in front of me. The perfect day!


  2. David, thank you SO MUCH for coming on my blog and showing everyone such a good time, and for helping me get the word out about the site and all the treasures to be found there. You are one of a kind, that’s for sure! I have thoroughly enjoyed our hijinks, also over here on your blog, and am so glad we’ve met. I know you are probably devastated about being deprived of my company now, so let me assure you I will be over here to pester you on a regular basis.

    Your pal,

    (Oh, and good shootin’, Tex! With the mantis, I mean.)

    • Renee, I have had great fun on your incredible site and appreciate the opportunity to play with you and your friends over there. Yesterday’s enthusiasm has already picked up where it left off and I wonder where it will all end!

      Thank you for coming over to my sand box too. We have lots of good friends here who regularly contribute their wit and wisdom plus a host of silent observers who think goodness knows what and keep it to themselves.

      So off we go, whistling down the road. Thanks again!


  3. I am having so much fun zipping in and out of these comment boxes! Seems one has to wait for a turn to post as other significants are busy commenting already.
    Virtual conversation also requires courtesy!

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