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EM1.2 and 300/4 - The Death of a Hummer
  
 
James Farrell
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · EM1.2 and 300/4 - The Death of a Hummer


I posted this on DPreview too but thought I'd share with my FM friends here. Just an interesting episode of combat in nature that I saw unfold that really took me by surprise. Image below text, but first the story. I live about 100 miles north of Phoenix in the mountains. We enjoy a vibrant population of hummingbirds - mostly Anna's, Rufous (some seasonal residents, some migratory) and an occasional Black Chin. As many do here, we maintain a feeder and enjoy the comings and goings from very early spring to the fall. I have it mounted in order to be able to simply sit, relax, drink my coffee (or Merlot) and snap away images at my liesure when the light and background are good.

Each year, there always seems to be one hummingbird who is able to establish itself as the "feeder boss", a term we coin for the hummer that likes chase the others off and keep the feeder for itself despite room for four to feed at any one time. They're not real good at sharing the feeder, as you might know.

Yesterday, I witnessed an intense fight between "The Boss", this year an adult male Anna's that seems unusually plump and agressive, with a passing Rufous that might be a juvenille as it seemed a little small and thin. This fight was really intense; the most intense I've ever witnessed as they locked up in flight at times just flapping their wings and trying to use their beaks to injure their opponent. They would fly around chasing each other, at times just buzzing by my head at break neck speed trying to catch one another.

So, the fight ended when they suddenly locked up and then simply fell to the ground as if they both forgot how to fly. I looked through my Olympus 300mm lens to notice that the Anna's had the Rufous pinned to the ground in a pile of leaf clutter. It stabbed the Rufous in its head right next to its eye with its beak and continued to hold the Rufous down on the ground as if some kind of wrestling match until the Rufous apparently died. While hummers are territorial about things, this mortal combat took me by complete surprise. I suppose nature just playing itself out. It was an amazing sight. The following image shows the Anna's holding down the Rufous after it had stabbed it. I have that image too but the quality of the image is not real good as I was trying to gather my wits about me to try and take some pictures.




  E-M1MarkII    OLYMPUS M.300mm F4.0 lens    300mm    f/4.0    1/640s    1000 ISO    0.0 EV  



Edited on Aug 01, 2017 at 11:07 PM · View previous versions



Jul 24, 2017 at 12:15 AM
bobbytan
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · EM1.2 and 300/4 - The Death of a Hummer


Sad story. Depressing actually.


Jul 24, 2017 at 12:47 AM
birdied
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · EM1.2 and 300/4 - The Death of a Hummer


Nature is tough . This does make me sad.

Birdie



Jul 24, 2017 at 06:02 AM
DES-1
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · EM1.2 and 300/4 - The Death of a Hummer


Unpleasant outcome you witnessed, unpleasant for most humans but an example of nature sorting things out.

Years ago I saw a picture of a pair of hummers that dueled to mutual death, laying together with beaks thrust into one another. What you saw has to be an infrequent occurrence if not downright rare.



Jul 24, 2017 at 12:36 PM
James Farrell
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · EM1.2 and 300/4 - The Death of a Hummer


DES-1 wrote:
Unpleasant outcome you witnessed, unpleasant for most humans but an example of nature sorting things out.

Years ago I saw a picture of a pair of hummers that dueled to mutual death, laying together with beaks thrust into one another. What you saw has to be an infrequent occurrence if not downright rare.


Well, I know full well that this is the way nature plays out sometimes. Hummers have only a 3 to 5 year life expectancy. So, I suppose they have to fight to survive on what food is out there. I see these fights all the time. They're not rare, but mortalities are. Usually it's just a case of non-stop harrasment. But this is the first time I saw a full fight from start to the bitter end. What's so unusual about all of this is at times I've seen four hummingbirds feeding at the same time (my feeder has only four ports). And some others may be hovering about waiting their turn. While certainly it appears that the "atmosphere" is a bit tense with that many together at one time, they do on occasion tolerate each other. It really gets interesting when the migratory, agressive Rufous hummers show up on on their way from the Pacific Northwest back to Mexico for the winter. Usually happens at the end of July and very early August.



Jul 24, 2017 at 05:52 PM
 

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DES-1
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · EM1.2 and 300/4 - The Death of a Hummer


Interesting. Here in central Ohio all we see are Ruby Throated. For the most part they show signs of possession or aggression if another tries to use the same feeder, we don't often see 2 feeding peacefully at a 4 port feeder. The most aggression we've witnessed is more of an aerial display of abrupt turns, vigorous wing beating and of course chattering.


Jul 25, 2017 at 11:59 AM
k-h.a.w
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · EM1.2 and 300/4 - The Death of a Hummer


James Farrell wrote:
I posted this on DPreview too but thought I'd share with my FM friends here. Just an interesting episode of combat in nature that I saw unfold that really took me by surprise. Image below text, but first the story. I live about 100 miles north of Phoenix in the mountains. We enjoy a vibrant population of hummingbirds - mostly Anna's, Rufous (some seasonal residents, some migratory) and an occasional Black Chin. As many do here, we maintain a feeder and enjoy the comings and goings from very early spring to the fall. I have it mounted in order
...Show more

Thanks James for an incredible and sad observation and a stunning image. WOW!
On one of our feeders we observed a Hummingbird being killed and partially eaten by a Praying Mantis.

K-H.



Jul 30, 2017 at 12:55 AM
DanC.Licks
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · EM1.2 and 300/4 - The Death of a Hummer


Living creatures can do "horrible" things to each other if they feel the need, but nothing can compare with what human beings are capable of.


Jul 30, 2017 at 06:31 AM
60HzShuffle
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · EM1.2 and 300/4 - The Death of a Hummer


Wow, that is a really sharp picture. Well done.


Aug 04, 2017 at 04:18 PM







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