Ms. Malaprop, Network News Anchor

I love malaprops. Make ’em myself sometimes (and not always deliberately). But I’m not a network news personality.

On this morning’s installment of Today on NBC, a perky young host (I don’t keep up with them), stated that parental rivalries leave many men “exacerbated.”

It made my morning…well, that and a gorgeous male Rufous Hummingbird defending our feeders. He’s been here for a couple of days (I’ve been hearing that sinister-sounding wing zing), but this is the first I’ve seen him. Better check him for a band—it was exactly a year ago that we did our Extreme Hummingbird Makeover on a young male Rufous.

Weather happens…

I just got the call I was expecting but dreading: this year’s 20th anniversary Hummer/Bird Celebration is canceled.

Hurricane Ike is currently pounding on Cuba, and it’s forecast to hit the Gulf Coast on Saturday. Hurricanes being capricious creatures, exactly when and where Ike will make landfall and at what force remains to be seen. I’m sure our friends and colleagues up and down the Texas coast are battening down the hatches, but poor little Rockport is directly in the storm’s projected path.

As much as I was looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones (birds and birders alike), hearing some great presentations and giving a new one of my own, and of course indulging in some fine Lone Star cuisine, I’m relieved that folks in Rockport and environs have decided to devote their full attention to making sure they, their families, their pets, and their homes have the best chance of coming through this storm unscathed.

I’ll be thinking of you, friends. Here’s hoping that Ike deteriorates into nothing more than a soggy blowhard by the time he reaches Texas.

Stay dry.

Oriole feeder hummingbird hazard

This must be a rare occurrence since I hadn’t heard of it before, but to help make more people aware of the potential for harm I’m reposting this message a colleague and neighbor sent to the Arizona-New Mexico birding listserve:

Last spring, due to orioles raiding my hummer feeders incessantly, I purchased a new feeder designed more for orioles, offering larger holes to the nectar, as well as recessed squares on top to place jelly for orioles. This worked well, drawing the orioles from the hummer feeders.

However, the hummers recently began feeding on the nectar from this feeder as well. I put two small bits of jelly out about 2X per week for the orioles. Yesterday a.m., I did this again. When I returned home after work, I discovered a male Black-chinned Hummer hopelessly stuck in one of the small globs of jelly, not feet first, but almost face-down. I’m guessing one of its relatives bumped or pushed him and he went belly first into the jelly. I suppose this possibility should’ve occurred to me, but it didn’t. I retrieved the little guy, who was exhausted and missing numerous feathers, presumably from the struggle to escape. I actually washed the jelly off him as best I could, and got him to take some nectar before sunset. He weakly flew off to roost low in a nearby tree. He surprisingly survived the night, still barely able to fly. I again got him to take some nectar this morning, but he was still flying very weakly at best this a.m.

I relay this to folks to be aware of putting jelly out for orioles. This is a popular practice, but can become a death trap to hummers in some circumstances. The amount I put out has always been rather small, not a lot at all. But the orioles will now have to settle only for nectar as I will not put jelly out again. I purchased this feeder from a well-known, specialized birding retailer, and it’s certainly not their fault. It seemed like a very cool feeder. This could be a bit of a design flaw, however. Just a heads-up. Thanks.

Glenn Klingler
Wildlife Biologist
Elfrida, AZ