Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Hummingbird Tragedy

For the past couple of weeks, we've noticed a female praying mantis lurking on the bottom of one of our hummingbird feeders. We assumed she was hunting bees, who are attracted to the sweet nectar. But she obviously had bigger game in mind:

On Friday afternoon, this is what we found. The mantis had caught herself a hummer. Notice the drop of hummingbird blood on the side of the feeder.

It looked to us like the mantis was sucking the hummingbird's blood and eating the meat to some extent. When she was through, the dropped the carcass, which landed on the feeder perch.

You don't realize how small a hummingbird really is until you can hold one in your hand.
Hummingbirds vibrate at a very high frequency, but are delicate creatures. A few years ago, a hummingbird got into our guest house. I opened the doors and tried to shoo it out with a broom, to no avail. I finally was able to grab it next to a window. I carried it outside, opened my hand, and the hummingbird was dead! I figured it had suffered a heart attack. Evidently the stress was more than it could bear.