Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Miniature Feeding Frenzy

I was reminded of big ocean fish and birds attacking a school of smaller fish from all directions. But in this case it all happened in a tree in my back yard.

For a fifteen or twenty minutes, a horde of warblers and gnatcatchers were harvesting bugs from every flower, branch and leaf. It was all happening in one small area (a few feet in all dimensions). Suddenly a humming bird was in the thick of this warbler and gnatcatcher frenzy. The hummer darted – back and forth, up and down, a foot or two in each dart, multiple darts per second – apparently catching small insects that the warblers were stirring up. The hummer acrobatics lasted for over a minute, which is time enough for the hummer to catch dozens of tiny flying prey.

The marauding horde of warbler species in my little yard this morning included:

Chestnut-sided warbler
Wilson’s warbler
Blue-winged warbler
Mourning warbler
Magnolia warbler
Nashville warbler

 Gnatcatchers, warblers and hummingbirds. Mini-sharks of the treetops.

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