This is going to be one of my backyard musings, come along for the ride.
Each spring I look forward to the new life that shows up in our backyard. After long cold winters what else could warm your thoughts?
Each spring we can count on our regular visitors. There is a skunk that roams through, just meandering his way to wherever he needs to be. He has never sprayed but you know he’s there because, well because he smells like a skunk. He shows up again in the fall heading back from where he came. We also have one or two racoons that come by. They can be seen peaking at us from our tree or between the posts of our deck. We’ve seen one washing his hands in our little water garden, and once, only once have they tried to get into the garbage. The lid was secured so I guess we fooled them. They don’t tend to stick around very long either. We have bunnies and a lot of birds that you’d expect to see in as well.
You are probably wondering why there is a picture of a fox and a groundhog included. Well, a few years back I saw a fox run down the street and boy was he on a mission to get some where! Now, we live in a rural area but we do live in town so I thought this was a rather unusual sight. Well, this year the cute little fox took second place. My Mr. and I go out on the top layer of our deck and have our “breakfast of champions”, coffee and a cigarette. (yes, I’m one of “those”) So anyway, I was out one morning and I saw this little lump of brown fur. I thought to myself, oh goodie, our bunny is back. Then I noticed that he was a pretty fat bunny. The next thing I noticed was that his bunny ears were really short. Nope, this ain’t no kind of bunny I’ve ever seen before. There he was, just munching on the grass and looking up at me as if to say, “What, you never seen a groundhog before?” Quite frankly, no, I have never seen a groundhog before, except in pictures, that’s how I knew it was a groundhog! Well, now I have and for about a couple of weeks he had taken up residence under our shed. Well, like the others, I suppose he moved onto to greener pastures because he’s not with us anymore. Thank goodness.
So what do all these critters have to do with hummingbirds? Nothing! LOL, it’s just a lead up to my favourite critter that does come to our backyard.
So now we come to the hummingbird part of my musings and delight. As I said, I look forward to all the new visitors to our backyard, but the one I look more forwardest (is that a word :P) to is the hummingbird. I just can’t wait for the little flying jewels to appear.
The rule of thumb is to place your hummingbird feeders out in time for Mother’s Day. What most people don’t know is that the males show up earlier to set up territories. I put my feeders out in mid April, after all they have come all the way from Central America and they’ll be pretty peckish. (see what I did there!) I follow the best, in my opinion, hummingbird migration map so I can see how close they are getting to me. I think it is pretty exciting to watch from day to day where the sightings have been.This year, as is usual, they have shown up on schedule in the spring.
Then summer came and poof, no more hummingbirds I was sad. Sitting out on the deck patiently waiting to get a glimpse of that beautiful plumage and hear the hum of their quickly beating wings. But sadly, it was not to be.
Well, now it’s September 2nd. Yesterday was my SQUEEE day. Well, I had a smaller squee 2 days ago, I had a hummer show up! Our upper deck is small and we have one feeder placed on one side of the steps on the deck railing and the second on the other side of the steps also on the railing, so they are placed about 8 feet apart. We also have a 3rd on on the lower deck. My usual morning routine is to go outside to have my “breakfast of champions”. While I was standing there the hummer came up and almost stared me in the face, just hovering in front of me, I could have reached out and touched her without even having to extend my arm fully. I didn’t notice till later that I had a red star on the centre of my t-shirt so I guess that is what attracted her to me. So anyway, she went to the feeder to have her breakfast. I say her because it wasn’t sporting the ruby red gorget that males have.
Yesterday morning I was out again bright and early and there she was again to have her breakfast. After sipping and zipping she decided to just perch on the shepherd’s hook and as I watched her, she watched me. We must have stood there for a good two minutes before she flew off. The morning was a little cooler than it has been lately so shortly after she came to the feeder again. Then a another one came to the second feeder. If you haven’t seen how territorial hummingbirds are then you are missing out. To us it’s funny, to them, not so much I guess! So the first on chased off the second one and vice versa for a little bit.
Finally we come to the SQUEE part and I think you know what is going to happen. I’ve been trying to get a hummer to feed from my hand like you see in all those Facebook and Youtube videos. I thought to myself, hmm let’s see what happens today. This is how it went down. We have some old faded feeders that I never threw away from last year, so I got one of them, took the top nectar holder part (that it the technical term) and just used the bottom where the little yellow flowers are. I put some nectar in it and brightened it up with some red electrical tape. I put on my fuzzy red housecoat as an extra enticement. Now, I have this ability to sit for ages without moving. I don’t know it if is a talent or just goes to show how lazy I am! So anyway, me, my fuzzy red housecoat and this little feeder that sits nicely in the palm of my hand went out and sat on the step between the two feeders. I didn’t have to sit there long and, yep, SQUEEEE, one of my little jewels came right up and took a sip from it. It wasn’t a long sip but I was able to feel the light breeze from its little wings on my thumb!
It doesn’t stop there though! Wouldn’t ya know it, a 3rd hummingbird came and she decided that all 3 feeders where hers and she told them in no uncertain terms they were hers. I’ve never heard a hummingbird squeak and twitter so loud or for so long but she certainly made her intentions clear.