Monday, December 9, 2013


What a great word. In Canada it's an excuse for accidentally smoking crack. "I was in one of my drunken torpors."

I don't know if or when Frontyard Anna's Hummie is officially torpid, but on these unusually cold days she spends lengths of time hunkered down in the Pieris bush, a short flight from the sugar-water.   You can walk right up and stare at her with an eyeball half her size and she doesn't flinch.   But she isn't there after sunset, suggesting a separate nighttime Fortress of Torpitude.

I take the feeder inside after dark, because lately the syrup it has been freezing solid overnight.  I put it back out at first light, and she's already there in the bush, chipping, peevish.  That's the hummie way: when not torpid, peevish.


biobabbler said...

Is it possible he meant drunken stupor? (Pardon if you & everyone else are already there.) 'Cause far as I know, actual torpor = NOT MOVING. Hard to get into trouble WHILE in torpor. Could get into trouble if lapsed into torpor on a street (mashed by car) or on a glacier (frozen), but technically, you're put into harm's way by your drunken stupor self, and merely held to account by your immobile torpor self.

Glad to see you still have the hummer & that you're protecting her delicious nectar through the magic of a heated home. =)

Seagull Steve said...

Drunken torpor? I like it. I was previously only aware of stupor.

The one and only time I saw a hummingbird sleeping was on top of a bush in Portland (OR) on a Thanksgiving night a few years ago. It was a very exposed perch, and it was raining and frigid cold...I thought it was a weird place to want to sleep.

Dave Wenning said...

What a great post. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you.

Hugh Griffith said...

bb: Yes, you are correct, but I like torpor (the word). I also like that it's a coping mechanism of one of the most frenetic criters around. I'm about to go torpid. Click. Much to learn about them.

SS: Cold weather hummers are a recent thing here, as Anna's(s) have spread north in recent decades. They be tough little critters. I like your #7 avatar.

Dave, Thank you!