The Violet Sabrewing Drinks Alone

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One of my favourite memories from our last trip the Monteverde was the hummingbird cafe just outside the biological reserve. This time, we have gone almost every single day to watch the hummingbirds at the feeders.  I think it is fair to say that the hummingbirds are drama-llamas of the first order. The are so confident/focused on food/unafraid (how do I really know what is in the mind of a bird?) that they fly by us as we stand near the feeders, so we get front row seats to the action as the birds chase each other away and try to control access to the nectar.  Today, while I was trying to take a picture of a hummingbird on a branch, tow other hummingbirds flew BETWEEN me and the camera, tilting just barely enough that I only felt the breeze of their passing on my nose and not feathers. Sometimes I hear the sound of their little bodies actually thumping together. The violet ear plumps up his violet ear feathers and crest feathers while he chases others away.  He looks a bit like an angry ewok, so cute when he is on the attack.

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Most species seem to chase only others of their own away, but the Violet Sabrewing clears the area before going in for a feed. It’s the biggest, with a scimitar beak, so the others go, squeaking and chirping in distress (anger?).  There is one kind of regular bird, called a bananaquit, which does not participate in this ownership game.  It just stays at the feeder when old Sabrewing comes by.  I love all the action.

Bananaquit

Bananaquit

The sound of the birds is also amazing.  Different species make their own buzzing sound, so it’s like being around different distant airplanes.

The first day we just looked and admired.

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The second day we discovered hummingbird selfies,

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and the third day we discovered they will land on us if we put our fingers on the base of the feeder.  Holy moly, I HAD A HUMMINGBIRD ON MY HAND! (hands alone below  belong to Jen)

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I love them.  And their names. And colours winking in the sun. I even started to read my camera manual to find out how to take better pictures.

Oh yeah. People! We came to Monteverde with my mum and Alison, Dan, Sam and Maeve.  After a couple of days, we traded the other family for my sister, so it has been a great family reunion here in the cloud forest.

 

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