Hummingbird -- My newest mascot?
When winter relinquishes her grip on our mountain and the warmth of spring
begins I listen for the hummingbirds to return. I was surprised at how
early they came this year. I thought they would wait till the night time
temps were above freezing more often. The adult and juvenile males come
scouting for the best places early and I heard them as I was watering the
bulbs. I put up the feeders around my trailer and watch to see who shows
up this year. The Rufous' are the first to show and claim the feeders so I
move feeders around and add more hoping that the Calliope and Black-chinned
will stay nearby.
I feel such joy watching these tiny creatures "fighting" for possession of
the feeders or when they buzz me out of curiosity, maybe. So imagine my
delight in actually getting to hold one for a few minutes!!
On a particularly warm day we had opened both end doors of the kitchen. I
was getting ready to leave the main dining area when I heard a rather loud
bumping/ buzzing noise in the unfinished part of the kitchen. I thought
maybe it was another butterfly who'd trapped itself in the bay window since the
butterflies are also on their mating flights. I looked and saw this little
hummer beating itself against the window. It let me capture it so it must
have been very tired indeed (or in shock?). I carefully covered it with my
other hand and went outside to let it loose. But when I removed my
covering hand it didn't leave!
So I held it above a table in the sun and
let it recover while I closely watched it. It blinked its eyes at me,
flicked its tongue and lay still. I couldn't feel it breathing or heart
beat -- my own was pounding in excitement and awe. I wanted to pet it so
much but was afraid that I'd hurt it or scare it even more. So instead I
took note of the tiny feathers above it's eyes that aren't much bigger than
a period-- . -- and tiny dark lines of feathers on its gorget. So I knew it
was either a juvenile male rufous or a female. And it seemed to be
studying me as intently as I was it. It kind of nodded its head at me and
flew off in the direction of my trailer. I watched for it at the feeder
and sure enough it showed up after a bit.
Now as I'm out watering my flowers or working about my place he buzzes me
daily as if to say, " I'm still here." He sits patiently waiting for me to
fill "his" feeder and I think to let me see how he's growing into a
beautiful example of his species.
A Rufous hummingbird
Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 64