Hummingbirds are famous for their high metabolisms and their mostly-sugar diet, and live surprisingly extreme lives for what we think of as peaceful garden dwellers. Smallest of the birds, they’re not known for carrying around anything extra, and are stuck in a little cycle of necessity: they need lots of energy to stoke the fires of their metabolic furnace, but being so small they can’t stockpile anything in reserve. They’re constantly pulled between energy expenditure and conservation, which has the consequence of making them kind of antagonistic toward each other. The Aztecs had it right when they gave their war-god (good old Huitzilopochtli) some hummingbird characteristics– they’re like the Spartans of the bird world: aggressive, territorial, no extraneous luxuries, proclivity for the color red, and a spear-like beak. I don’t know how much they interact with other animals, though. The Spartans were fond of subjugating their neighbors, but thankfully hummingbirds seem to limit their harassment to each other. Mostly it seems like they both ignore and are ignored by other critters, but I’m sure something eats them when it gets the opportunity.

But back to the comic, my guess is that the “fat hummingbird” I saw was probably just pregnant, and hadn’t yet laid any eggs. I feel kind of guilty for chuckling at that, since I guess I’d be moving around a little slower too if I was carrying around an extra half-my-bodyweight around with me while trying to run a marathon. On the other hand, maybe it was a hummingbird that had access to a soda fountain or something– I didn’t exactly study it for the rest of the day and follow it around. I’ve got stuff to do too!

Oh! I’m realizing I should put on my businessman hat, and let you know that if you’re a fan of fat birds, I made a series of little egg-shaped birds a couple years ago, which I keep meaning to revisit, but haven’t gotten around to yet. Interested in a print of this little watercolor I made of a Calliope Hummingbird? You can purchase one! It’ll be a print of a 7 inch by 10 inch drawing reproduced on letter-sized paper. I’ll sign the print, but the URL won’t be on there… that’s just for images floatin’ around on the internet. So, commerce! I should get a proper store or something going one of these days.

“Calliope Hummingbird” – $30