[Tweeters] Weird hummer-scrub jay behavior

Thomas Knight dipperdog at gmail.com
Wed Oct 12 15:46:12 PDT 2011

Hi Kelsey,

I worked with a collection of birds in an aviary that included hummers and I
can vouch for their aggressive behavior towards other bird species that are
much larger than them. The other birds didn't have to be doing anything to
the hummers to incite the anger of the hummers, and in fact the other birds
all lived in fear of the hummers. During the worst periods (which came &
went frequently & didn't seem tied to any particular season, so breeding
condition wouldn't explain it) we would have to pull the offending hummer
out for a week or two just so the other birds could safely fly around the
exhibit. I once watched an Emerald Amazilia hit a much larger grosbeak
mid-flight and continue to attack the poor bird as it plummeted to the
ground. During the peak periods of aggression it would be rare to see a
bird flying, and this was in a huge aviary. Such angry little birds.

Thomas Knight

On Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:20 PM, Kelsey Byers <kjbyers at uw.edu> wrote:

> Hi all,


> While walking to work on Monday morning I chanced to see a fairly

> long-tailed, long-billed passerine fly over my head into the top of a tall

> conifer. Based on the (silhouetted against rain clouds, how helpful) quick

> field marks (long tail, jay-sized, bill ~as long as head, pale breast) it

> looks like a Western Scrub-Jay.


> What surprised me (now that we know those guys are fairly common here) was

> seeing the three *very angry* hummingbirds (probably Anna's this time of

> year) buzzing the WSJ for several minutes, darting in and out and generally

> hovering within a few feet.


> Anyone have any info on why this might be? Very weird.


> Kelsey Byers (Wallingford/Green Lake)

> Department of Biology

> ------------

> kjbyers at uw.edu

> (978)460-3581



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