Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Feathered Neighbors

View from my kitchen window.
The weather has turned cool, three weeks earlier than usual.  It looks like it will be an early Fall and suddenly my feathered neighbors are in a flutter.  Bill built this birdfeeder from a broken folding chair and attached it to the back deck railing. I can watch my neighbors fight and be entertained while I wash dishes.  Anything which makes dishwashing less tedious, is praiseworthy in my opinion.

The first one usually migrates through in the Spring around April 15th.  It makes tax day a little less miserable.  If I don't have the feeders up, they buzz me at the kitchen window, going around in circles until I come out to serve them breakfast.  I prepare sugar-water which is one part sugar and four parts water; they never tire of the same menu.  October 19th is the latest we have ever seen one because they travel south for the winter.

Yum, Yum
They scuffle to perch on the spot on top of the feeder so they can view the perimeter and protect their food source. When it runs dry, they watch for me to return with fresh nectar then suddenly appear shoving to be the first in line.  

This is Ping Pong guarding his territory.  We named him years ago because when he first arrived, he was tiny and wider than he was tall.  He looked just like a ping pong ball.  Even though he was smaller than anyone else, he was fierce and did not hesitate to fly into battle against another twice his size.  This is his feeder and he is not shy about fighting to protect it.  He is quite the warrior.

Ping Pong the Great 
He is often tricked.  Someone will challenge him and a chase will ensue. He never backs away from a fight.  While he is away at war the home front is unprotected, so others will fly to the abandoned feeder to enjoy themselves.  He falls for this trick every time; the warrior below claimed the throne of honor and then took a nap.  


There was so much fighting and mischief at the deck feeder, we decided to add another around the front of the house.  Originally I had the feeder hanging on the porch but decided to move it into the yard on the dinner bell because of the mess they make.  This way the weaker ones also eat and we are entertained while sitting on the front porch. Years later they still remember the spot where the feeder hung and will buzz the area looking for it. 

They can fly forwards, backwards, left, right and hover in midair.  Dive bombing is the favorite battle tactic and many have collided inches above my head.  It is amazing to see their midair, beak sword fight acrobatics.   None fear us and will hover inches from our face if they are curious.

Now they are frantically trying to gain weight to make the long migratory trip south to Mexico or Central America.  All will fight then suddenly stop and drink at the feeder when thirsty.  Late in the evening, minutes before dark, the smaller ones sneak to the feeder and fill up for the night causing air bubbles to float to the top.

I will miss my neighbors this winter; it will be quiet on the deck for a while.  Then the trouble will all start over again come Spring.


  1. Watching those birds while dishwashing or doing other household chores on that place must be a wonderful entertainment! Specially when the birds are so confiding. I am really astonished. A very practical birdfeeder thanks to your husband´s craft skills.
    When I look out of my kitchen window I only see walls and roofs. But my husband built me a broad windowsill outside and so I have a place for flower pots most time of the year and bees and other insects can be seen. In winter I put some fir sprigs outside. And I also use this window sill to put dishes there when I want them to cool down.
    I wish your birds will always find their way back to your place!

    1. Some of them have been visiting for years. When we bought the house the previous owner had a feeder up so the birds were already coming. One of the first things I unpacked was my feeder and the sugar. I guess I fed the birds before I fed the family. Some years we have many, other years, just a few.

      Bill made the hanger for the feeder so we can turn it so the feeders hang over the back side of the rail. It keeps my deck from being covered in droppings and it works great.

      I would never put something in the window sill to cool. It would be gone immediately. I suppose your neighbors are nicer than mine.

    2. Wait, let me clarify; I meant my "feathered neighbors" would land on any food in the window sill and eat it. My "people neighbors" would never steal my food.

  2. Wonderful photos! Love the Hummingbirds!
    I think the migration south has already begun. We are seeing more birds at our feeders now than any time earlier in the year. Must be those from farther north stopping by on their way to their winter homes.

    1. Lea, I think the migration is earlier this year. This morning I have already filled the feeder on the dinner bell and soon I will need to refill the feeder on the back deck. Sadly, they will not have much to eat going south this year. Between the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, everything has been destroyed.

  3. I'm a bird watcher too. Bill's birdjoint is amazing!


    PS: asked my younger daughter this morning to fetch me a lettuce on her way back home. She ALMOST came back with a cabbage. Found out she took the wrong stuff when she checked for the price. Yep. Born and bred in the city. Have been pulling her leg since.


    1. Bless her heart, Sophie-Marie, how can you be so mean to your own daughter. Both lettuce and cabbage are green and grow wrapped inside plastic. Teasing your children, shameful.

  4. They are so fun to watch! I find their fights rather entertaining. We don't have a feeder, so they fight over plants in the garden.

    1. They love to fight over anything and remind me of my three boys growing up; anything was a cause for an argument. Today, they are the best of friends. Men, who can understand them?

  5. I love feeding the hummingbirds too. I've not written down the last day they're seen here, but I'm thinking it's early September usually. They were still here today though. I like your one of a kind feeder.

    1. Thank you Laurie, my husband wanted me to make sure everyone knew the feeder was from an old broken chair. He did not want people to think that was his craftsman's skill. As for me, I love it.

      Every year I watch for the last one then wait another week before taking the feeders down. There might be a weak straggler who is far behind the others and I want to make sure there is food for him. I am in lower middle Tennessee way out in the country.


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