Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Bird Bully

A few days ago I mentioned that we have a very territorial Yellow-rumped Warbler in our front yard. Since it flew in from the north, it has been chasing away all other Yellow-rumps that try to reach our feeders. It has been driving off our Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Orange-crowned Warblers, too.

Our Yellow-rumped Warbler stading guard

Well, this bird is now trying to extend its control over the yard by chasing off more bird species. The other day I watched as it swooped in on the feeders and drove away Carolina Chickadees and American Goldfinches. Then I was amazed to see it giving the same treatment to a couple of House Sparrows, usually one of the toughest and most aggressive of bird species.

And the warbler isn't just protecting the feeders. It has even started chasing other birds away from the birdbath.

Of course, other birds do still manage to feed and drink in the yard. Sometimes there are just so many birds around that the Yellow-rumped can't get rid of all of them. And even this very determined little bird can't intimidate our resident Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, or our Northern Mockingbird, or our nine resident House Finches. Or maybe it's safer to say that it hasn't managed to intimidate them yet!

This warbler reminds us of a very territorial female Anna's Hummingbird that took over our deck in Pittsburg, California some years ago. For about 8 weeks we watched in awe as she battled tirelessly from dawn to dusk to keep all other hummers away from two hummingbird feeders. It was a truly herculean task because there were often a dozen or more other birds trying to drink at one time. However, she was incredibly successful and it was only very rarely that any of the other hummers managed to sneak in and get a quick drink.

1 comment:

Sherry Aldrich Sineath said...

Same bird bully in my yard. What to do?!