anyone who's ever visited here knows our backyard is the Penn Station of animals; we've had everything from rodents to foxes to weasels to every sort of native bird. we feed, that's part of it. but we separate feeding the larger birds (late fall through winter into late spring) and the hummingbirds (late spring through summer into late fall) because they really don't play well together. the hummingbirds get very agitated when anything violates their territory... even other hummingbirds that they don't like.
so a weird thing has been happening: a baby Woolly Woodpecker has decided she likes sugar water. it's the strangest thing to watch a species who is supposed to be eating tree insects sit on the hummingbird feeder and suck down sugar. for weeks i figured she was eating the ants that climbed the pole (and maybe she is), but she's definitely sticking her beak into the tiny hole and drinking the nectar.
again, you can imagine the cloud of angry hummingbirds that results from this invasion.
so we'll let her sit there for awhile, but eventually we'll yell out the window. she used to fly away, but lately she's gotten inured to it, and we have resorted to knocking on the sill, and even going out to the feeder to chase her away.
this morning, my mother was standing at the window and calling "Now, you know that's not for you. C'mon, it's time to leave. I know, hummingbirds, I'm sorry. Just chase her away!" then she turned to me, realizing i had heard her, and said "She just won't leave!"
now we've starting keeping a water pistol around because Brigid has discovered window screens in a Big Way. i grabbed it and went into the kitchen, saying "OK, well, I'll get her to go," and i fired at her out the window.
the Woolly paused, looked at the window, slid around the sugar feeder until the reservoir was between her and window, and went right back to eating.
i looked at my mom and burst out laughing. so did she.
and our laughter scared away the woodpecker.