Why I can never be 100% happy in the Old World

Because it doesn’t have hummingbirds:

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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8 Responses to Why I can never be 100% happy in the Old World

  1. Cathy White says:

    Amazing, I love watching the bird life on my feeders, and whether it is because of the long, cold winter there have been several species that have visited for the first time. Tuesday was the red letter day, my swallows have arrived and started to sort out their preferred nest for this season. They have travelled from Natal in South Africa to my garage in the west of Scotland, that is one heck of a journey.

    • oregon expat says:

      Congrats on having returning nesters! That’s so rewarding. What type of swallow are they? (I’m guessing barn swallow.)

      • Cathy White says:

        I don’t think they have a sub group. Swallows will nest inside a building, barn, garage etc, house martins under the eaves of a building , and sand martins in sandy banks or cliffs. I suppose the 3 are all part of the swallow family, but are very distinctive. They have been returning to this garage for over 30 years. Last year there were 2 families and each had two hatchings. In all about 10 chicks safely left the nests.

        • oregon expat says:

          Ah. I looked in my bird book and the only swallow you have in the UK is the barn swallow. Down here we have red-rumped swallows as well…but I’m still used to Oregon birding, where we have tree swallows, violet-green swallows, cave swallows, bank swallows… 😉

          • Cathy White says:

            I didn’t realise there were so many. The book I was referencing was the Guide to British Birds. I will have a look at the ones you have mentioned. I have seen swallows mob a buzzard and I know when the chicks have hatched because they will dive bomb my cat no matter where he is in the garden, actually making contact with his ears!

  2. Lilaine says:

    I’ve got a question.
    Doesn’t feeding the hummingbirds impact their natural behavior, and therefore their role in the grand scheme of Nature? Aren’t those little guys pollinators for certain species of flowers (ornithophilous), or something?

    • oregon expat says:

      They are definitely pollinators, but they also have a HUGE need for nectar and normally will not satisfy it by draining a feeder all day long. They visit feeders in between flower visits, and (in my experience with Anna’s and Rufous hummers) the females will pretty much stop coming to the feeder altogether during nesting season, because at that point they focus on finding insects for their chicks.

      My hummers spent a lot of time at my feeders first thing in the morning (tanking up after the nighttime fast) and just after sunset (topping off again before nightfall). During the major part of the day, they’d flit in now and again but spent more time hitting up flowers.

      Of course, any discussion of “natural behavior” must take into account the fact that humans have altered the hummers’ habitat so profoundly that they *can’t* behave entirely naturally anymore. In many areas their preferred plant species have been diminished or eradicated, so they’re forced to adapt. Feeders are part of that adaptation.

      • Lilaine says:

        Okay, thanks for the clarification. 🙂
        Now, I can see why it is so important that people put up feeders for the hummers. It’s not only for the pleasure of watching them, but it’s also a matter of survival for the species, and probably a way of making up for having destroyed (and continuing) their natural habitat. 🙂
        Hurrah for the feeders! 🙂

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