It’s a dangerous world outside our front door…



We’re living in dangerous times, my friends.

It’s getting quite scary to open the front door.

We have eight–I repeat, eight–ruby-throated hummingbirds buzzing and squawking and hollering and dive-bombing anything that walks, flies or carries a camera.



OK, as usual, I have no idea how many hummingbirds there are outside our innocent front door.  We counted eight yesterday.  There could be ten or sixteen or twenty-four!

All we know is that they are wild and crazy hummers.  I sat on the front porch two days ago and shook in fear.  Their two-inch beaks threatened from six inches away.  They kamikazeed.   They dive-bombed each other.   They weren’t afraid of little old me.

Buzzzz.  Looks like Mini-Dracula coming in for a landing down below

Buzzzz. Looks like Mini-Dracula coming in for a landing down below

We have NEVER had more than four hummingbirds, OK, maybe not more than six in more than a quarter century of living in the woods.

What kind of summer is this going to be if we can’t even leave our front door in a respectable manner without fleeing from these miniature needle-beaked beasts?

Oh, and it gets MUCH worse than this, my frightened readers.  You can not imagine how bad it gets.

Buzzzzzz.    Wings outstretched!

Buzzzzzz. Wings outstretched!

I am talking wood ticks.

I can barely utter their name without weeping in utter despair. (Note:  why do I still type sentences like this?  In truth, I am barely frowning.  But am desiring to make a point to any weary bored blog readers who need to realize the severity of our plight.)

Yesterday or the day before or the day before I went on a morel mushroom hunt.  You know the delicious morels, don’t you, of which it’s been impossible to find the last three years?

Now that our weather is balmy (for the moment) we’re all flocking out to the old wood rows and fences and apple trees looking for those delicious mushrooms.  My friend Patsy (I can barely stand to report) over there across the bay picked three bushels or something extraordinary.

I found four morels and decided it was a bonanza!



Except for those wood ticks.  Darn them!  I brought home four morels and 21 wood ticks.  Stripped away every crawling inch of clothing and tossed or flushed the wood ticks.

Next morning?  Three more wood ticks on this body!  Two of them burrowed in and feeding on innocent skin, blast them!  Found another one while writing this blog.  (I lose my spirituality around wood ticks.  OK, God bless ’em.  Please.  Because I don’t know how to, yet.)

Had another Lyme disease test a couple of weeks ago, and, thankfully, am still negative.  Especially after last year’s debacle.

Kamikaze hummingbirds, I tell ya.

Kamikaze hummingbirds, I tell ya.

Between the crazy hummingbirds and the wood ticks we might as well shut the door and stay inside! Unfortunately, we’re already splitting our firewood for next year. And the garden isn’t yet planted…so we have to go outside.

Any suggestions for surviving in the woods?

P.S.  If you want to see some real northern beauty–minus the drama–hop on over to Heather’s blog.  She got some BEAUTIFUL pics of the aurora borealis last night.  Not even dangerous at all!  Really cool, Ms. Heather…

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in June 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to It’s a dangerous world outside our front door…

  1. Amazing photos! I wish I had advice, but I simply have envy about your photos.

  2. Carol says:

    Repellent. DEET. High percentage. Applied liberally. And frequently. I hate ticks! Now I can feel them crawling on my neck. Ugh!
    Here it’s the swallows we have to worry about. We were so smart in putting their houses in or near flower beds, so weeding can be a challenge. My hummingbird feeders are not near doors, so we have little to fear there. But the swallows, oh my!

  3. Carol says:

    Oh – bad me! I meant to first say how much I love the photos. It’s the big crack in the rememberer that does it.

  4. Sid Dunnebacke says:

    Kathy! I’ve missed your wit and storytelling. I completely forgot to even put up the hummingbird feeder, and so those beautiful little creatures have snubbed our yard. So that’s one way to avoid the attacking hummers. You’re on your own about the ticks.

  5. Stacy says:

    What is it with these crazy birds lately? If they’re not building nests in the driveway, they’re dive-bombing unsuspecting humans. Maybe you’d have to be a bird to understand. ❤

  6. Lori D says:

    Oh, Kathy, you’re still finding them? Don’t ask me how to combat them, I’m a city girl. I only know how to use prevention on my dog. Ha! Are they getting in your house? Can you have it sprayed? Now I’ve got the heebie jeebies. Stay Lyme free my friend.

  7. lisaspiral says:

    I can’t read this one because I know it’s about all those woodticks. I can do spiders. I can do mice. I had a really bad experience with wood ticks as a child and they make me girly scream ooky. Hope you found them all!

  8. Not one hummingbird diving at me or a feeder! I fear for your safety. I would, under cover of darkness, split the wood and make the garden. Surely, without city lights, the moon would be enough for these chores.
    The ticks: try hanging garlic around your ankles :).

  9. Heather says:

    You have described a conversation Tony and I were having about the hummingbirds yesterday to a T. I love to watch them, but feel like I need a shatter-proof shield behind which to hide. They are fascinating and beautiful (great shots – way more than I’ve ever captured!), but their needle-y beaks are scary!
    Still, not as scary as those wood ticks. Would you believe that we only sprayed (non-DEET) bugspray on our hats and haven’t seen a single one?
    Thanks for sharing my blog. I love the northern lights and am SO happy to have the chance to share just a moment of them 🙂

  10. Janet says:

    Can you feel the ticks when they get into your skin? Our dogs get deer ticks occasionally, but they’re big and easy to spot and pull out (especially if they’re engorged–then it’s kinda fun).

  11. Kamikaze hummingbirds, flesh-burrowing wood ticks, and elusive mushrooms!

    Kathy — I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: You definitely know how to enjoy life on the wild side 🙂

  12. Brenda Hardie says:

    Your pictures of hummingbirds are lovely, Kathy 🙂 Sorry they are diving towards you…maybe you should move the feeder away from the door. I keep mine out near the garden so I can watch them feed while I’m working in the garden or sitting outside. And yep, you should find some bug spray or natural ways to protect yourself from those nasty wood ticks. And keep yourself safe from lymes disease.
    Thanks for sharing the link with beautiful northern lights ♥

  13. Elisa says:

    I was just thinking of you and the damn ticks this morning on a serene walk at the tree place, little speckits of black and brown debris sticking and flicking up onto my legs and in the middle of the pleased to be there feeling the stabbing thought OMG ticks, Kathy ticks. I resisted the urge to brush me off and therefore it, of course, recurred. I brushed and checked when I was more calm. I’m peeing blood, so I imagine a wee tick might serve as a horrendous distraction.

    Oh, how is the garden, will you have enough growing season days to have one this year?

    • Elisa says:

      Oh wait….staving off…Dear God, Please do not interpret my use of the concept of distraction as a wish or a desire to have a tick visit. I would like all ticks to stay in their tickish homes, away from me. Thank you, E.

  14. P.j. grath says:

    Trustingly, I pushed past your headline and into the story of the hummingbirds (they don’t scare me), and then you got started on TICKS! There is NOTHING I FEAR MORE THAN TICKS! Kathy, how could you? Now I’ll be having nightmares–.

  15. totsymae1011 says:

    That little fella is like a yard dog. Kinda cute but I must say, better you than moi.

  16. During your winter, the ruby-throated hummers sucked on our red juice outside on our bay area deck. I sent them your way – figured you’d love the extra summer company.

    Do hummingbirds eat ticks? If so, that would be the answer to your problem! 🙂

  17. The hummers are friendly sorts, once mating season is over. We used to have one that would all but land on me as I sat on the deck in the evening, he seemed curious about what we were doing. The ticks, well, this is one time that the experts were right and it’s going to be a very bad year.

  18. Kathy, when the loggers here are working in the deep woods, they smear themselves with Vicks VapoRub, to repel wood ticks, biting flies and gnats. I don’t know if it’s the eucalyptus smell or the greasiness, or a combination of both, but they swear it works better than the heavy duty deet sprays. Hummingbirds are very territorial, and will fight to the death to protect their chosen yard. It’s very rare to see that many around one feeder! Usually only one male, and maybe two or three females in this season. Good luck!

  19. john says:

    As far as the humming birds, you can:
    1) Buy a badminton racket (After all they are birdies) or
    2) Fill the feeder with a mix of sugar and crazy glue

  20. lucindalines says:

    Oh this is super great. We have lots of ticks here too, but so far none have been burrowing in on anyone. Last night I found one just walking around on my quilt. Not sure how it got there, but… As for the humming birds, we have no feeders of any kind because of the cats. Birds in our yard would be named breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  21. bearyweather says:

    There is no way to avoid the millions of ticks if you want to go outside … I hate them because they are small and sneaky and full of diseases.

    As for the hummers … they are a summer blessing I love. I plant flowers that I know they will love, instead of the feeders. The feeders were attracting too many hornets and ants … and raccoons … it was a messy game all summer long. If I were you I would move the feeders away from the door … you would not want one flying into your house.

    Just think … we could be complaining about 3 feet of snow instead 😉

  22. dorannrule says:

    I love the hummers! And your photos are great! They are not here in great numbers yet, but I’m expecting them. As for the ticks, I just learned that they lurk in the grass and they don’t jump on you from the trees as I once thought. If your search for morels is in areas near your home, you could have the areas sprayed. My neighbor had a bad year last year and had that done twice and it has helped immensely. Otherwise, tuck your pants in your boots, wear long sleeves, and spray your boots and pants legs liberally with Deet. My young niece has Lyme – not diagnosed for 4 years. Horrible thing and the cure, if any, is not easy either.

  23. Love the photos and the dive bombing happened to me too today! I was innocently sitting outside on the back patio of my church and I had my bright red lunch box. This is not an area with a feeder or any garden at all. Incoming! Hummingbird buzzes by to check out the red nylon and buzzes out again!

  24. Dawn says:

    I have a feeder….saw one hummingbird at the beginning of May…nothing since. Hmmmm….we get them swarming in the fall, but not usually in the spring. I don’t mind them buzzing around my head. Don’t know why not. As for ticks? You are the second person to write about them, so it must be a bad year. I’ve never seen one here…but I guess I should be more careful this year.

  25. sybil says:

    Love the hummers. What a thrill. Standing in my garden yesterday one came by and checked me over to see if I had anything worthwhile to offer. I studiously avoided puckering my ruby, red lips. 😉

    Wood ticks. Tucks pants in sock and I’m sorry but … you know what I’m gonna say … DEET. I’m very careful with it and never a concentration over 29% … Lyme disease has made its way to Nova Scotia thanks to climate change … Stay safe my friend, stay safe..

  26. Karma says:

    OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! It isn’t very spiritual of me to say so, but I am quite jealous of your hummingbirds! Wow! I witnessed my very first hummingbird battle over my feeders just the other morning, but was unable to capture any pictures due to the poor light outside at the time. I wish I had so many of these terrifying creatures (tee hee)!
    Please be oh-so-careful about the ticks, dear Kathy. I have a friend who has become quite lyme-literate over the last couple years due to her husband dealing with chronic lyme. Just because the routine test in the doctor’s office says negative, doesn’t mean you truly are. I know you’ve been suffering with aches and pains here and there over the year – if you’d like to know more about what my friend has found out, email me. I didn’t mean to write a book here in yours comments!

  27. Is there anything you can spray on to discourage the wood ticks? And wear light-colored clothing when possible so it’s easier to spot them and brush them off. Just my two cents worth.

  28. Sara says:

    I spent the Memorial Day weekend at the family cottage and was attacked by wood ticks. They were everywhere! No humming birds though. We have those in our back yard, but not to the extent where we’re threatened by them. Good luck with protecting yourself!

  29. Val says:

    Oh dear, that’s awful, Kathy. 😦 Especially the ticks.
    I sympathise with the humming bird hazard. While we don’t have humming birds I can’t open my windows in my room (den/study/studio/office thingy) there’s a wasp or bee nest in the roofspace just above my windows. So if it gets really hot this summer, I’m done for.

  30. sonali says:

    Kathy!!!! that’s scary! Now you must come over here. You need to be safe, living in the woods is so dangerous, come over dearie, I’ll give you a warm bed & blanket, a cuppa coffee? you sleep well, while the rains make the pitter patter sound outside and tomorrow morning you wake up, step out and breathe in the fresh air, feel the sunrise and I serve you a warm breakfast! come over my friend!
    oops.. and I wear the reality cap *sigh* what nasty creatures! I was never aware that hummingbirds could be so so disastrous. & wood ticks? jeeez!!! May they all evacuate soon..

  31. Robin says:

    LOL @ your hummers! I do hope they calm down and give you some peace. I saw my first hummingbird a day or two ago. I should put up a feeder, but I’m afraid I might be dive-bombed. lol! I would consider four morels a bonanza too! As for the ticks, I can sympathize and empathize. I do tick checks when I come in from outside, and still (still!!) I wake up to find one or two burrowed in and feeding. Found one on the back of my leg this morning. I’m afraid I wasn’t too spiritual about the experience. 😉

  32. Well you’ve got a lot of nerve to bless or telling some your readers to bless the bastardly-dastardly wood ticks. 🙂 You had best be careful out in them there woods. 🙂 Kathy do you not have better sense? I am so afraid of ticks it is a pitiful shame. And I still get the dang things usually each year just from walking about my little ole one acre. And the dogs get them despite using expensive topical Frontline the lastest flea and tick killer which does not kill all that good anymore. Oh well. I say, go buy the dang “rooms” at the grocery store. 🙂

  33. me2013 says:

    fantastic photos Kathy, and as for wood ticks…there the only creepy crawly I hate.

  34. penpusherpen says:

    ah Kathy, that’s terrible, you wait for the better weather and still problems are raising their heads… Now for the birds I’d wear a helmet and visor.. (but not one to hand so no good) …. but the ticks?… awful, and I hope you find some way of dealing with the nasty critters. I wonder if it’s been the wetter weather that’s breeding bumper crops of them? hugs to you xPenx

  35. Dana says:

    1. I love hummingbirds, even dive bombing ones. They are supposed to represent joy and luck as a totem animal, so bring them on, baby!

    2. I loathe and detest ticks. LOATHE. I’d much rather deal with bears on a hike than ticks. Give me a grizzly bear any day! Marty was bitten by a tick over 10 years ago whilst in Czech Republic. After a deliriously high fever it was discovered that he had been infected with Lyme. Despite prompt treatment via antibiotics, this dratted Lyme Disease has stuck with my dearest since then. (Apparently up to 10% of Lyme cases are chronic.) The tests here are mostly useless (false negatives most of the time), plus most doctors are not trained in how to diagnose or treat the disease outside of those tests (or fear litigation/loss of license if they do treat it aggressively.) It’s enough to get me frothing at the mouth when I think about ticks and Lyme Disease, so let’s go back to how much I adore those hummingbirds. 🙂

  36. I WIlkerson says:

    Well I guess I feel better about not finding any morels the past two years (not to mention the wood ticks). But your hummingbirds are glorious! We’ll have one on occasion but never flocks!

  37. Joanne says:

    I had no idea that life in the big woods could be so dangerous! The hummingbirds look so tiny and innocent and cute too, who would have thought? But I don’t even want to think about ticks, Kathy! During summer we are constantly checking our animals for them and even have the occasional one on us too!

  38. My Mom used to love watching the hummingbirds flit around the yard at the cottage. In the city, it was the Grackles living in the big old pine tree in the front yard that used to dive-bomb the mailman or anyone who tried to sneak out the front door. They are much bigger than hummingbirds and much more intimidating. Glad to see you have so many this year, as they have been pretty scarce in the past.

    As for those wood ticks, I’m glad you’ve tested negative for Lyme. A friend’s miniature Pincer suddenly began having seizures and, when they took him into the vet, they discovered he had it. Fortunately, they were able to treat it and he seems fine, now, but it could have been fatal.

    Take care, my friend. Best to tie up your clothing at ankles and wrists when tromping through the North Woods. I can’t advise you about how to protect the rest of you except to be ever vigilant! 🙂

  39. Reggie says:

    I had no idea that hummingbirds were so territorial and aggressive?! I thought they were pretty timid little birds… I’d move the feeder away from your doors and windows. The photos are gorgeous though! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Somewhere in early August we didn’t feed them–oh poor things–for maybe 18 hours–and the majority of them–whoosh!–flew away. Only about six remained. They are now manageable. In late August the males headed south and now there are just the females hangin’ around. They’re leisurely and lovely and our hearts aren’t beating in swooping fear these days. 🙂

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