Absurdities #7

By Eilene Lyon

I was puzzling over the use of the term “Dogfight” to describe an aerial combat. It seems odd, considering that the only “flying” dogs I’ve ever come across are Snoopy, who is forever losing his Sopwith Camel (an entirely absurd name for a plane, I might add, especially when it’s really a doghouse) to the Red Baron in World War I, and Laika, the unfortunate mutt sent into space on Sputnik by the Soviets in 1957.

Laika

The most acrobatic and fiercest aerial combats I ever witness occur at my hummingbird feeders. Those birds are relentless! And the females are just as tough as the males. Body-slams are routine, and those long, pointy bills look positively lethal. If you were three inches tall, you sure wouldn’t want to be getting into a fight with Rufus over nectar rights, believe me you.

But I suppose there just isn’t enough machismo in the term “Hummingbird-fight.”

bill-williams-1806-unsplash

Intent to kill?

18 thoughts on “Absurdities #7

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  1. I’ve never encountered a hummingbird except in photos and videos as we don’t have them in the UK (though why not, I’ve never known. I gather they don’t all need a warm climate? Maybe they can’t fly this distance…) but I adore them. Not sure I’d adore being buzzed by one, though. As for snoopy… humour him, he needs his sopwith kennel! 😉

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  2. LOL! Our hummingbird hatched her eggs a few days ago outside our front door. A few wrens were near there, and the mama was fiercely fending them off and getting them to fly far away from her babies! I am so impressed with hummer moms. A few years ago, I watched one of them teaching her little runt baby how to fly. She spent several hours one afternoon teaching the little scaredy cat.

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    1. I’ve never had the chance to observe baby hummingbirds – you’re so lucky! I’m surprised the wren was cowed. I’ve seen wrens chase off much larger birds – they can be fierce, too.

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  3. I remember Laika going up into space. I was six and I was distraught when I found out he wasn’t coming back. I hate to think of his demise. My strongest memory of hummingbirds is when we flew to America and stayed with friends in Upstate New York. Apparently they do not exist in Australia or if they do they have been introduced.

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    1. I think Laika is a prominent example of our inexcusable treatment of other animals. Quite a sad tale. Yes, hummingbirds are a Western Hemisphere group. Other places have equally wonderful birds to fill that niche.

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  4. When those hummingbirds look you right in the eye with that sharp beak, I’m just happy they aren’t aggressive to humans—Like a fierce Jurassic mosquito they could really do some damage.

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