Yesterday, I watched a hummingbird charge at a crow.
The crow strayed to far across her unmarked boundary line. She burst out of the holly bush like a bullet straight for the much larger bird. With a startled ‘caw’ (I tend to anthropomorphize animals in the yard) the crow jumped out of the way and flew to the top of the fir tree on the other side of our fence. Taking a page from a WWII dive bombing manual, the hummingbird made repeated passes at the crow, getting closer and closer. It wasn’t long before the crow had enough and flew away.
The little aggressive female Anna’s Hummingbird has lived, year round, in our yard since we moved in and it wasn’t the first time I’ve seen her chase off a crow. The yard is her territory and she actively defends it (I’ve seen other hummingbirds behave the same way around feeders).
Our yard is probably worth defending. I’ve planted an assortment of hummingbird friendly flowers, like bee balm, that provide nectar from early spring to fall. In winter we see her picking through the cedar hedge hunting small insects. Every summer we spot a few juvenile hummingbirds hanging out in the yard, so our Anna’s Hummingbird is very successful.
Hummingbird photo by G. Hanke