“Anything Denny Crane can do, I can do backwards and while wearing high heels”. —James Spader as Alan Shore`~~Boston Legal
I don’t know if any of y’all have ever had the pleasure of being a “host” to any hummingbirds, but they just happen to be in the area right now. In a previous life I was living on the coast in the Northwest. My property was terraced with the driveway heading about 800 feet up on the north side of a mountain at the end of a small road. About mid-way up, there was a “crick” with about a trillion fuchsia plants along it. It was quite a beautiful spot really, if not a bit inconvenient when coming and going. One of the results of this landscape was being blessed with about a billion or so hummingbirds……I realize I’m throwing around some pretty big numbers here, but our government has been pretty successful with that lately, so I thought I’d give it a whirl…….anybird, my point being: I never had to do anything to bring ‘em to the neighborhood, or actively attempt to attract their attention.
Until now. Having scored a bargain on a pair of feeders at our local trading village a while back and with all of this free time on my hands, I thought how nice it would be to have some of the little hummers buzzing around the place. I got said feeders hung in strategic locations for my viewing pleasure and what I consider to be a decent comfort zone for ‘em. And there they sat. I really didn’t expect to have visitors immediately, and after reading up on the “web” about “do’s and don’ts” I was reasonably sure that all I had left to do was wait. So I did. And then I started to wonder about what things I could do to send out the message that there was an open bar at this address.
One thing I do not have around here is flowers. One blooming Magnolia and some large Oak trees is all I have to offer, and I’m thinking they probably are attracted to a bit more color. My dilemma now is that I don’t care to plant any color in my yard since I’m doing well to just “green up” the lawn after a bad winter. So I went to the neighborhood discount-craft-supply-store and bought some really bright fake flowers and placed them in what I thought to be attractive spots for the little travelers to spy from “on high”. And I waited. Day after day. Faithfully cleaning the reservoirs and replacing the feed for the little buggers every few days, all the while never losing hope. Each day I gave my husband the negative report, which he acknowledged with a somewhat amused (if not relieved) comment, since this project of mine was also keeping me out of his hair for a while……I must give him credit for getting them hung for me, though. He’s really quite supportive ( forgive me the pun, please ).
Not one to be discouraged, I mentally crossed of each day as it passed without the whir and chirp of the little tourists. Thirty-five days, to be exact. I was determined that if I had to keep up this routine until next winter, so be it: after all—this is a low-budget undertaking, and I know they are “out there”; but I still questioned whether or not I was on their map. At long last, I was rewarded! A few boys and a couple of little girls showed up hungry as hell. YAY!!! It’s often the littlest things that bring the greatest pleasure, ¿No? They zip in and out of both front and back yards as they try to establish themselves as regulars at the bar and claim their stools, as it were. They’ve been drinking “on the house” for several days now.
Seeing them reminded me of a poem I wrote several years ago that I thought appropriately expressed my pleasure in observing these little creatures, although it was written about the “Calliope” (pronounced: kahl-lie-oh-pee), a species of hummingbird that doesn’t make it to this part of the country. These hummers are about the size of a bumble-bee, and fierce enough to scare away even the “Steller’s Jays” that frequently bullied the many other “regular” birds away from our seed feeders. I felt quite privileged that a pair of ’em decided to start a family in a bush right outside my kitchen window, and I decided some of you might enjoy my little tribute and possibly be inspired to tackle a similar project. Maybe take advantage of some of the wonders of Mother Nature that are still available to us……..
Dainty little birds a-humming
Sweetest nectar you come bumming,
As I spy from kitchen window
Nature’s secrets you may show.
Diving, dipping in a dance
Inviting others to romance,
You seem to live with so much glee
While seeking mate for Springtime spree.
Busy little birds a-humming
I smile and watch as you come bumming
The tiniest twigs to build your nest,
You toil so hard to ‘chieve your quest.
With passing time you reappear–
Suppressing urge to let a cheer,
I see in you a new-found greed
Two baby mouths you’ve now to feed.
Happy little birds a-humming
I know the day will soon be coming
You all will have the need to go.
I’d like to think you somehow know
The hours of fun you’ve brought this house—
At times I’ve sat here like that mouse,
While hoping for the chance to see
A bird who’s called “Calliope”.
Precious little birds a-humming
I hope that someday you’ll be coming
Back to make your home next year,
Your whirring wings I’ll wait to hear.
For if my presence you should bless
I’d gladly have you as my guest:
The food and housing are for free
To birds just bigger than a bee.