Thursday, September 09, 2010

Watching Hummingbirds

Daily entertainment is offered by the glass doors of our kitchen opening onto the west end of the deck where we see colorful hummingbirds zipping, zagging, and zapping around the feeder hanging there.

On the other end of the deck outside our bedroom is another hummingbird feeder. If I sit on the porch swing there, the tiny birds will buzz all around me letting me know they are not afraid of me even if I am daring to invade their territory. Their tiny wings make a noisy sound as the birds hover by the feeder or fly past me.
We are not only feeding them but also the wasps and dirt dobbers who like the birds’ sweet sugar water. I am impressed at the steady stream of tiny ants from down below somewhere who come up onto the deck railing and then crawl along the long black wrought iron holder that Gerald uses to put the feeders on so they are away from the deck rail and in easy reach for the tiny birds.
Every year at least five or six during the summer will fly into Gerald’s shop and cannot find their way out. He will find one dead on the floor, and it makes him feel bad. The large machine door openings that they came in can be wide open, but somehow they cannot find their way out.

Yesterday I started to leave for town and there was a colorful hummingbird frantically flyinhg around the ceiling of the garage. The door on my side of the garage was already open and I assumed that is how it got in, but the bird seemed to persist flying on the side of the closed door behind the pickup. I did not want to close my door and leave the poor little thing aimlessly trying to escape. I opened the door behind the pickup, and that caused it to fly to my side where the door was already opened. But did it leave? No, it was flying too high evidently to see the opening. I talked to the bird and explained how it could gets its freedom, but the bird would not listen to my advice. Finally I had to leave, but I could not bear to close my door, so I left it opened and hoped for the best. Much to my relief, the pretty thing was gone when I came home.

Our many martins have already left us for this summer. These hummingbirds will be leaving us for Mexico soon, and we ponder how they make that trip. What allows them to reach their wintering grounds there year after year while they are unable to find their way back out of a building the same way they came in?

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