The Hummingbird’s Gifts

What the hummingbird brings:

  • Delight when you first appear in late April.  You bring the promise of spring and lively movement and sounds on my porch.

Hummingbird resting

  • Oh, the sounds: chattering and chittering, when you announce your presence; hissing, whistling and screeching when you attack a competitor.
  • Oh, and the semi-circular dance you perform accompanied by a sound that has no name, when you try to impress Miss Hummingbird.
  • You move so fast, cutting through the air like a missile. Sometimes you hover around my head. Are you as curious about me as I am about you? Very, very rarely, I see you perched somewhere, for a few short moments.

Two females belly-bumping

  • When you attack the others with your dagger beak, sometimes stabbing them in their belly, I want to tell you that there’s enough for everyone.
  • I clean and refill the feeder for you and grow the flowers you like so much:  orange jewelweed, pink delphinium, lavender hosta, magenta phlox, and the red flag of canna lily.

 

  • I watch you extract the nectar, probing the deep throats of jewelweed and canna, never spending much time on any single bloom. How does it taste, the flowers’ offering of sweetness and nourishment, this nectar of life?

Hummingbird feeding on jewelweed

  • Your nests are tiny, the size of a walnut, I read. I keep looking for them, just to admire your nest-weaving skills.  Bird nests can tell you a lot about their maker’s sense of aesthetics, their diligence and perseverance.  Have you ever seen the dangling globe nest woven by an oriole vs. the coarse, thrown-together, almost-anything-will-do nest of a robin?  Or the mere suggestion of a nest, the little indentation in the ground a killdeer mama makes as a receptacle for her speckled eggs?   I adore intricacy and workmanship but I also respect practicality and minimalism.
  • You hummers come in such tiny packages and, yet, when the light hits the male just right, his throat feathers shimmer in the most astounding glowing red, then turn black with the mere turn of his head.
  • Such a small package and so much power – don’t you fly for DAYS across the Caribbean Sea without food, without rest? – and so much grace, elegance, and beauty.
  • You are majesty in that small package, no less a defining presence than the mighty bald eagle that lives around here as well.
  • You bring joy and hope when you arrive every year… and delight.

Wind chimes

  • You try to teach me about leave-takings and endings when you fly away in just a few short weeks, or even just a few days. Yet, I still feel sadness and melancholy and a sense of abandonment when you leave, the early dread of winter creeping in.

 

  • I wish you a safe journey South. Indulge all winter in the abundance of the rain forest. Travel for the many of us who would like to follow but have to abide by the restrictive and isolating rules of a pandemic.

 

  • And do remember you have a home here, next spring.

About Beauty Along the Road

A blog about discovering beauty in all its ordinary and extraordinary manifestations.
This entry was posted in Animals and Critters, Appalachia and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Hummingbird’s Gifts

  1. Reblogged this on Emerald Mountain Sanctuary and commented:

    This is my farewell post of appreciation to the hummingbirds as they’ll be leaving for their long journey South very soon.

    Like

  2. This is a lovely tribute to hummingbirds Annette. They are such fascinating and hyper little flying machines!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pat collier says:

    I enjoy ur writing.
    The hummingbirds are a gem. A BLESSING!
    Hope for better days!! Joy in the midst
    of uncertainty. Beauty in the midst of
    darkness. I watch w/
    childhood delight (79) as they do their
    display & acrobatics.

    Like

  4. Such a lovely, informative post, Annette, and beautiful photos. You have so artfully portrayed the wonder and magic of these incredible little beings. 💜

    Like

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