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One recent afternoon I encountered this male Anna’s Hummingbird over at Sweetwater Wetlands.
To say that he was not pleased to see me would be an understatement. He chattered aggressively at me, emitting a high pitched, rapid fire rattling sound. He puffed up his tiny body as he glared at me.
He then escalated his threat display, flapping his wings rapidly, while continuing to chatter angrily at me.
What was going on? There is a popular misconception about hummingbirds, caused, I think by their diminutive size. People see these tiny creatures and assume — completely wrongly — that they are sweet and gentle. Nothing could be further from the truth! Hummingbirds are among the most aggressively territorial birds that one encounters. A hummingbird stakes out a territory and it defends it against all comers, including creatures that are many times its size. This little hummer was doing what came naturally to it, protecting its turf.
Hummingbirds often fight with each other. One day not too long ago I watched two hummers get into a fight over a tree that overhangs a small creek. They battled so intensely that the two of them eventually fell into the creek in the midst of their struggle. They both emerged apparently unharmed, but unbowed also.
Photos taken with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 250, “M” setting, f6.3 @ 1/640.