It took some doing, but eventually we found a bird feeder that would fend off the squirrels and the doves and yet allow the small birds such as finches and the larger birds such as jays and cardinals to feast. And finches, chickadees, titmice, cardinals and jays, along with hummingbirds, account for most of the bird population in our backyard. From our garden room, while we are giving our cat, Max, his daily brushing or while we are utilizing the stationary bicycle, we can often see all sorts of interaction between the various birds.
And it is really a revelation. Because the big birds bully the little ones, the little ones bully each other, and the hummingbirds, while they really don’t compete for the seed feeder, are fierce with each other. In fact we have had many occasions to observe hummingbirds in literal aerial wars, presumably because they are so very territorial. When one considers how little hummingbirds are and how active they are in flight and in hovering and how little they seem to sip at a time, one wonders how they manage to sustain themselves through the vigorous battles they pursue.
I’ve never cared for attributing human characteristics to our fellow earth creatures, but sometimes it is hard not to see self-defeating possessiveness and greed in the behavior of these big and little birds. Why, sometimes they seem almost human.