Friday, June 22, 2012

A highly unusual visitor to the hummingbird feeder!

For such wee sprites, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds sure can suck down the sugar water. Anyone who has catered to their needs knows this. Once the birds get into the drill of visiting backyard feeders, they'll soon be regularly dipping their strawlike bills and wicking up the sweet elixir like a kid downing milkshakes on a hot August day.

Sometimes it's shocking how rapidly the sugar water levels drop. Fill the feeder in the morning, like a good hummingbird steward, leave for work, and return at the end of the day to an empty feeder. How in the world do a few tiny birds that weigh the same as a nickel so rapidly deplete a huge urn of sweet stuff?

Well, sometimes other animals with a sweet tooth have figured out the system... Scroll down...

Hmmm... This is Tim Fairweather's hummingbird feeder, and he had been experiencing a case of Mysteriously Vanishing Sugar Water. That's his dog Skittles, a clever Husky mix. DNA testing was inconclusive in revealing her exact lineages, but she looks to be one smart cookie.

This photo casts Skittles in a suspicious light. She is in the exact vicinity of the feeder where the apparent sugar water thefts have occurred. The dog can stretch to the height of the feeder, obviously. And she, rather guiltily, is licking her lips as a dog who just lapped up sweet sugar water might do.

Nonetheless, all of this is just circumstantial evidence - inadequate to convict Skittles of pillaging the hummingbird feeder. Besides, the snout on that Husky is far bigger than a hummingbird's bill - certainly too robust to insert into the feeder!

Busted! The feeder's funnel-shaped portals are just big enough for Skittles the Husky to insert her proboscis and suck out the sweet water! Mystery of the missing sugar water solved!

I can only imagine that Skittles regularly incurs the wrath of the feeder's rightful visitors - hummingbirds are not shy about making their feelings known and I'm sure they didn't appreciate this Husky cutting into their supply. I'd also bet that Skittles, who must be highly observant, learned this trick by watching the hummingbirds feed. She must have figured, hey, if they can stick their beak in there so can I. And now the hummingbirds have to compete with a massive furred beast that outweighs them by a factor of thousands.

Maybe some sort of modified squirrel baffle might work...

Thanks to Tim Fairweather, who is the naturalist for Lorain County Metroparks at Sandy Ridge Reservation for sharing his photos. And thanks to Skittles, the Mensa-qualified Husky mix, for the laughs.


Linda Rockwell said...

This is hilarious! :oD

zippiknits said...

Skittles is going to need some teeth brushing skills, next. Lol! Great post!

Wren nests in... said...

A Husky mix on a sugar high... Ruh-roh.

Anonymous said...

Squirrels do it too. Hang upside down and chug away. Ugh!