Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Horror film makers are accustomed to presenting us with monsters that are large relative to human beings -- think Godzilla. But as zoologists know, nastiness comes in all sizes. We have a hummingbird feeder on our porch, and Susie and I have just been watching a male ruby-throated hummingbird. He drinks at the feeder for a while, and then flies to a twig on one of Susie's many plants, perching there waiting to take another drink. If a female hummingbird comes to the feeder, he chases her away and returns to his perch. He is tiny, of course -- perhaps the size of my thumb. But his behavior is as aggressive and domineering as though he were a full-maned lion. Nature red in tooth and claw indeed.