Video: Hummingbird preens like he means it.

We set up the camera pointing at the hummingbird feeder on our front porch to try and take pictures of the birdies as they perched. But, holy smokes were we surprised to see a bird perch on a nearby vine and begin its performance, going through his checklist and pre-flight maintenance routine.

Embedded above, watch on YouTube or download the high-resolution Quicktime Version (3 MB).

This isn’t a time-lapse movie, this is real time.

You might think, after seeing all the bizarre distorted poses that this critter goes through, that it has been watching too many Daffy Duck cartoons. My favorite part is the puffing-up-and-shaking-like-a-wet-dog part, but it’s remarkable just to see it opening up its beak or sticking out its tongue. If you look closely, you might also see him cleaning off his wings by clamping his beak on them and wiping in one swift motion.

The bird is a male Anna’s Hummingbird. It’s perching in the shade about two feet away from our feeder. This species is intensely territorial, and we’ve regularly seen one of them claim our porch (well, everything within fifty feet of the feeder) as its own and fiercely defend it every time another bird shows up. That seems to be about once every five minutes. If you’re outside when this happens, the total effect a lot like two bullets streaking by your head; It’s a little scary.

Our porch has the kind of southern exposure that leaves everything both dark and backlit, so in the video you can only occasionally catch a glimpse of the brilliant colors that show in direct sunlight.

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