Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mighty Tiny

While a female feeds at the front,
another buzzes around the rear feeder
They're back!  The tiny, combative pigs with wings have returned.  The hummingbirds are here!

Some people call them flying jewels, but that really does not do them justice.

They are beautiful, undoubtedly, with their iridescent ruby throats and green backs (we only have one hummingbird variety around here--the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird), but to be so tiny, they have pterodactyl-sized attitudes.

Lunch at "separate tables"
The scout has been here for a while, practically pecking at the back door.  He even tried to eat from the empty feeders waiting by the back door for cleaning.  On Saturday, I finally cleaned and filled them.

Hummingbird Nectar

4 parts water
1 part white sugar (do not substitute)

Boil water, then add sugar, stirring until completely dissolved.  Cool to room temperature before filling the feeders.  Refrigerate the remnant (will keep for several days).  Keep your binoculars and camera handy!

Within three minutes, the scout was sampling the first feeder.  By the time I'd hanged the other three, he was careening around the yard before sampling each.

By dark, another (a female) had come to the feeders.  Today, there are four, and one of the feeders is nearly one-third empty.  They swarm after dawn and right before dark, and I can't wait to see how many show up tonight!

Choose a feeder with bee guards--
the yellow grids
Hummingbirds are really territorial, and there's usually an
"enforcer" who guards one feeder.  He'll swoop around, practically skewering any intruders.  He will also perch on the fence, chiding any interlopers with an irritated "chip-chip-chip."

I am constantly amazed by them.  They are persistent.  They are bold.  They are unabashed gluttons.  They are ruthless.  They are snarky.  They are fun.

They are, in many aspects, many things I wish I could be.  But, most of all, they are a beautiful, fascinating reminder that size is no predictor of power.

So, pardon me while I perch on the porch, and enjoy the view.

What's happening in your corner of the world?


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