Here's the first:
I'm living in the middle of a war zone, and this time my daughters are not the combatants. As I write this, I'm sitting on the deck of our cabin with a lovely view of the lake where the girls are swimming. I am filled with a quiet joy.
Out of nowhere, a thrumming buzz behind me interrupts my peace. A few mouse-like squeaks and then something swoops perilously close to the top of my head with another something hot on its tail. "Tail" is an appropriate word choice.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds on the warpath.
Small in size but huge in spirit, ruby-throated hummers are aggressive, fiercely guarding "their" territory and feeders, of which I have two. I have seen a hummer take a few sips and then dart up into a nearby tree to watch the feeder. Should an unwary interloper arrive -- and they always do -- the first hummer zips down commando-style to chase away the enemy.
Photo courtesy Wikipedia
I attributed this feeder-aggression to a need for constant nourishment to fuel their extremely high activity level. While this is important, I recently learned that aggression levels tend to peak in late summer and early fall, when ruby-throats are gearing up for migration, which includes a 500-mile trip across the Gulf of Mexico. Makes perfect sense.