Everybody loves hummingbirds. They are petite and pretty. You always see hummingbirds portrayed as dainty, etherial little things flitting from flower to flower. I might have thought that, too, if I had never planted my garden with a sure hummingbird draw.
Jacob Cline Monarda is a tall, red flower that features small, trumpet shaped petals around a round head. It is a perennial, so you don’t have to keep planting it. And hummingbirds can’t resist it.
My garden is right outside the picture window in my living room as well as right outside my bedroom windows. I planted the Monarda perhaps 6 years ago. Little did I know how much entertainment I would get from it.
In addition to the plants, I do have a hummingbird feeder with the “sugar water.” They do need the water, especially in the higher temps of late summer. And they are choosy – if you don’t change the liquid frequently, they’ll snub it. The one I have has 4 “feeding stations,” but that doesn’t mean 4 hummingbirds at a time. They seem to circle around it the way they do the Monarda.
Over the years I have watched the hummingbirds flit from flower to flower. They aren’t overly shy. When the first hummingbird shows up in spring, looking for the Monarda that hasn’t even flowered yet, he/she may actually hover in front of the picture window while we sit there – as if to say, “Hey, I’m here! Where are the flowers? I’m hungry!” I’m sure he’s really checking out his reflection in the window, making sure there aren’t any competitors for those flowers when they bloom.
That’s because hummingbirds are actually very feisty and territorial. Today and this evening was a perfect example of that. All day we had 2 hummingbirds competing over us and our garden. One in particular has chosen us. I watched him on and off all day. I could actually see him perched in the dogwood tree about ten feet from the house. He would leave the tree to feed in the garden or at the feeder, then return to the tree.
I finally saw what he was up to! Occasionally, a second hummingbird would zip in, looking to feed in the garden. In a flash, he would be after that second hummingbird, chasing it off. I don’t know how fast hummingbirds fly, but I can say that in the blink of an eye they would both be gone. Then our hummer would return and take up his post in the dogwood tree.
If that had happened just once, I would have considered it amusing. But in the times that I was watching – and no, it wasn’t non stop all day – I must have seen that scene repeated at least ten times. That’s not amusing. That’s war. We have been captured by a hummingbird. No other hummers allowed. Not our choice. His. That delicate, beautiful, speedy little bundle of energy. We are his!