Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The CHIRP! Of Love Is In His Face

This is a fact. Dave has a history of being dive-bombed by birds. There are many reasons this could happen, but the primary one is that birds are shitty judges of character. Dave is not a threat to birds. Any bird should be able to read it in his face, but apparently his face is too far off the ground for their comfort. I can walk right next to him and they'll go for his head every time.

But until this week, we'd never seen him get threatened by a hummingbird.

Our local Anna's hummingbirds do an awesome courtship display that involves flying up to the stratosphere and then arrowing down at warp speed, pulling up a the last second before *splat*, and then zooming back up again. Moreover, there is a tremendous CHIRP! sound right there at the bottom end of the flight, coming in fact from the bottom end of the bird. Quite recognizable. Whenever we hear it, we look straight up to locate the aerobat and watch him do it again. He pulls out of his dive right at about eye level from a prospective mate, who is observing from a twig. It's attention-getting.

This time we heard the CHIRP! just off Dave's shoulder. And--we checked--there was no female hummingbird in sight. We stood still. We waited. And sure enough, a half minute later, that hummingbird swooped down within a foot of Dave's left ear.

He was impressed, but not enough to have sex with a hummer.

So we don't know what was going on. It felt threatening.  It felt like the bird was trying to chase Dave off, not get Dave off. But who knows? Either Dave looks like another male threatening his territory, in which case we would assume it would fly straight at his hat, and not do a courtship display. Or, he finds Dave very attractive, and he would like to have three seconds of sweet hummingbird bliss on some suitable orifice, several of which come to mind.

Because as far as I know, male hummingbirds do not defend the nest. They have nothing to do with the nest. They defend their own territory of flowers and hope to entice a girl into their territory and chase off rivals and go to considerable trouble for that three-second wham-bam and then it's Sayonara, Sis, and good luck with the kids. So although other kinds of birds might try to discourage Dave from getting near their nests, the male hummer has gotten all he wants out of the relationship and is back to looking out for Number One.

That leaves attraction as the only other possibility. Something about Dave appeals to a male Anna's hummingbird. The male makes that tremendous noise during his courtship display with just his tail feathers and maybe he senses a kindred spirit in Dave.

All alone and feeling blue, and green, and yellow, and...
But the ability to make remarkable noises from your tail end isn't much to go on in a relationship. Sure, it worked for us, but we're a special case.

We should ask Anna. It's her hummingbird. Anna Masséna, the Duchess of Rivoli, was probably pretty hot. At least she was all the rage in the ornithological community. Her husband, the Duke of Rivoli, was an amateur ornithologist, which is to say he had an enormous dead bird collection. John James Audubon took a fancy to her too, but it was another ornithologist who thought to name the hummingbird after her. Audubon was probably doing this long involved courtship thing and making a gigantic bird painting for her, and then René-Primivère Lesson swoops in all CHIRP! and says "Ma chérie, I give you zees hummingbaird." No one knows what the Duke of Rivoli was doing all this time, but apparently not defending his territory.

24 comments:

  1. My male African Grey has to be caged when we have workmen over, or he will go ballistic. But not all workmen. Just the ones in garb that he doesn't normally see us wearing: yellow hard hats, orange reflective vests, blue booties over clunky shoes, and large tool bags. If it's a foreman, who doesn't wear all that stuff, he's okay. If it's a female, he's more than okay, he's showing off for her. So it's probably a combination of things with him: defending his territory against these males and all their accoutrements, and an innate fashion sense that tells him their color combinations are all just wrong.

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    1. Innate fashion sense. Indeed. Birds have a way of making Dave change his shirt, boy howdy. Strafe city.

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  2. Perhaps it's something to do with Dave's hat. Has he tried wearing a different one? Different style, different colour.

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    1. I think it's how high off the ground his hat is.

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  3. There have to be some advantages to being short, right? Like not getting dive-bombed by a hummingbird.

    At least the hummer was complimenting Dave, not ignoring him like those insensitive crows! Quite a beak on those little guys, though. As our daughter would say, "stabbity".

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    1. My friend Linda has had hummingbirds probe her ear. Her left ear, I think. Repeatedly.

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  4. I would guess the hummer was just checking to see if Dave's ear was a flower. Was there anything colorful in there like earwax or blood?
    Also, some biting insects prefer the taller meal, so he probably has more mosquito issues than you do when you are together. Or are the Oregon mosquitoes different than Minnesota mosquitoes?

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    Replies
    1. Can't be the tallness that mosquitoes love. Mosquitoes love me, despite my being all of 5-feet tall. Paul is 6-feet tall, and they leave him alone. I mean completely alone. Wish I knew what their metrics were.

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    2. Nobody really knows. They guess. We just park Dave about twenty feet away from the picnic as a sacrifice.

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  5. Oh LORDY does he have mosquito issues. We really don't have any right around here. We throw open our windows at night with no screens. This is one reason we'll never move.

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  6. Hey, at least you've got birds in your city. All we see around here are a few scraggly robins, a passel of overly-well-fed pigeons, and when the wind is right, some confused seagulls that fly uptown and splat all over everyone's cars and patios.

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .....Facebook has standards? Now there's a bar too low to limbo under.

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  8. mimimanderly... Now *that* is a line for the ages... ".....Facebook has standards? Now there's a bar too low to limbo under."

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  9. Women over the age of 30 are useless and create autistic children. Basically, you shuold never date a woman over the age of 25. Old women are stupid.

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Anonymous", dearest: You needn't rationalize your decision to want to only fuck young, hot-looking women. It's the male biological imperative. Just as it's the female biological imperative to find rich guys more fuckable than poor ones. One wonders if YOU fill the bill for them? But I digress, as I frequently do, as I am WAY over 25. As Kate Hepburn's character said in The African Queen: "Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above."

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    2. Thanks for cleaning up for me, hon.

      Delete
  10. Birds are remarkable. Everyday we see something new.

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