My Love Affair with Hummingbirds
I don’t know when my love affair with hummingbirds started. I suspect it was after I was already in love with monarch butterflies. That love affair started with a transformational event in the fall of the early 21st century. My love affair with hummingbirds occurred after I started to feed them, probably about fifteen or sixteen years ago. Soon, each spring, I found myself getting out their feeder, making nectar from sugar and water, and hanging the glass jar outside my kitchen window.
From that spot, I could watch ruby-throated hummingbirds dance and dart around my feeder. They are cautious! The tiny birds keep watch on their surroundings like a woman on a dark path at night. Once they are sure there is no danger, the hummers (as I like to call them) land on the feeder’s red plastic perch and drink.
Usually, the drinking doesn’t last long. A few sips and they’re on the way again, zooming up into the large maple trees that grew only 100 feet away in our yard.
The hummingbirds that visit my feeder are territorial. They like to dine alone and think they are, except for my silent and motionless furtive glance through the windowpane. If others approach, a brief chip-chirp and the intruder is chased away. The intruder probably thinks it’s his dinner too! He just arrived at the wrong reservation time!
If I am occupied and within reach of the feeder, a slight helicoptering noise alerts me to my tiny friend’s arrival. I’m careful then because any movement will scare them away. I like them to dine in my presence. I usually try to take some photographs, too.
The sugar water nectar is changed frequently so as not to give my visitors indigestion or infection. We all know how it feels to eat a meal that doesn’t sit right in the belly!
The feeder stays from late spring to fall. Many meals are sipped as I watch with a loving eye from afar. Finally, when the cooler weather arrives, I wonder each day if I’ll see my beloved hummers. Eventually, they won’t return. They’ve fled my hanging restaurant for a diner with a warmer atmosphere.
How do I care for these amazing creatures?
Hummingbirds love flowers! And so, do I. I make sure I have plenty of bright-colored annuals and native…