In Native American lore hummingbirds are the symbol for joy and the good things in life. However, for me, they seem to be a symbol of change. I never was particularly aware of them while I was busy raising kids and working. They didn’t become part of my life until I semi-retired and we moved to a small acreage horse property – a big change for us. To go from the house down to the barn, we had to walk through some large Grevelia bushes covered with small red flowers. And every time we passed through, the hummingbirds would buzz and zip by us, upset about being disturbed. One of the fun things about our new house that I wish I paid more attention to. A few years later we re-landscaped, the bushes were torn out and we never saw our humming friends any more.
When we sold that place and moved to a new one, we encountered these joyful characters again. They loved the pink and red flowers on the huge hedge that lined our back fence. To keep them around we hung a feeder outside our bedroom window and each morning we’d drink our coffee and watch them zip-zip. They proved delightful mood lighteners in time when we needed it badly.
This was when we discovered how much personality they could have. Apparently they could see us inside and if the feeder was empty they’d buzz the window and demand we refill it. In the same time period, we used to occasionally have Sunday brunch at a funky little restaurant that had a patio bordered by a large garden the hummingbirds loved. We had great fun watching their antics each time we went there. One day we observed one particular male as he zipped around while we waited for our meal. Then the food came and we began to eat. All of a sudden the little guy flew up and hovered between us, chittering away. We were supposed to be watching him!
I love the way hummingbirds seem to be actually interested in people. Other wild birds will come around looking for something to eat, but hummers want to interact. They come up and look you over and even cuss you out if you’re in the wrong place. We spent a week at a Wyoming dude ranch one year and saw several varieties there. One of the regular guests who came there every year always put out feeders and nectar during her stay. Our cabin was near hers and one day while I was sitting on the porch this large, noisy hummer suddenly flew up and hovered in front of me for a long moment. Then he went to my right side and hovered there, went back in front to look me over some more, then flew to my left side to study me. Finally he came in front again and zipped away. I suspect he was looking for his friend and was disappointed that I wasn’t her. He had the loudest “hum” I’ve ever heard, sounded like a mini-buzz saw. Impressed me so much I included him in my book Wyoming Escape. And that trip caused me to change the book I was writing and do Escape instead, which became my first published book.
This summer we ended up buying the house we’d been renting. As one of the changes we made, we put up a patio cover. Now most mornings I have my coffee out there and watch hummers visit our feeder. We started with just two, one of which was a female. She’d feed for quite a long time, then I’d hear lots of chittering after she flew off. I suspect she was feeding babies. Then I started seeing more hummers flitting around, some quite small. Those young ones are quite grown up at this point and the little male is having a harder time protecting “his” feeder. Lots of chases and chirping. He was even squabbling with a small bird one day. No fear he.
I love how hummingbirds remind you take joy in life. That things aren’t really that serious.
How about you? Any birds or animals speak to you?
Healing is her life. Will it be her death?
Two dead bodies. One dirty cop.
Is she next?
Images – A Love Story
She’s learned to hide from life.
Should she hide from him?
.photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizhaslam/6092137716/”>Elizabeth Haslam</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>