Friday, May 29, 2015

Return Of The Hummers

       It has been a month since the first hummingbird of the season appeared at my back door. He flitted around a bit, looking for a feeder, then peered at me through the glass door as if to say, "Okay, I'm back, where is it?" I took the hint and put up a feeder. Then I waited for him to return. And waited. And waited.
Giving up, I was about to take the lone feeder down. Then a couple of days ago, my grandson pointed out that there were two hummers at the feeder. I figured the homemade nectar was rancid by now, so I dumped it, cleaned the feeder, and made a new batch. 
Wednesday, I noticed a third hummer. His buddies must have followed him here. He certainly wouldn't have shown them the way. Hummers are territorial, and once they stake out a garden, plant or feeder, they fight all newcomers. In fact, they seem to spend more time pushing each other away from the feeders than actually drinking from them. I've often thought they could drink more if they would learn to share.
Thursday morning, I peered through my kitchen widow and a fourth hummer was trying to get a bill full. Then along came a fifth and a sixth. I couldn't believe my eyes! It reminded me of the first year I was here, when I had half a dozen feeders and twice as many hummers. The population has dwindled since then. I’m not sure what brought them back, unless they were attracted to my hanging pots of petunias on the front porch, then decided to check the rear porch for feeders..
The really odd thing, though, is that they appeared to be sharing. Well, the first four or five were. By the time Number Six arrived, they began fighting over a spot in the red basin of the glass-bottle feeder. In the wild, they don't know how many flowers might be around, so they stake out their territory and protect it from other hummers. The feisty little critters can become so aggressive that they impale one another on their long, skinny beaks. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened on my watch, but I could hear them thwacking against one another as they jockeyed for a position at the eight-hole feeding trough.
       The feeder was almost empty, so I made two more batches of nectar, and pulled another feeder out of my storage shed. For the next half hour, I sat on the porch watching their antics at the near-empty feeder while the fresh nectar cooled. It was a hummingbird sonata, with all that twittering and whizzing and, yes, humming going on.      It was music to my ears.

1 comment:

  1. Love this entry, glad I read it first thig this morning! Starting my day on a positive note.