You may offer new joy to those who take such things for granted!
(4 minute read)
I have lived in the Midwest, the East Coast, New England, as far north as New Hampshire and as far south as Baltimore.
In over sixty years, I never saw a hummingbird at rest. Never once.
Oh, I get there could be “reasons”. We’ve had bird feeders, but never hummer feeders. I don’t think they winter over in places like Michigan, Massachusetts, or New Hampshire, though I could be wrong. (I could stop to research this, but that’s not the point of this article. You can, though! And let me know.) (Never mind, I did look it up, and no, they don’t winter over in northern climates.)
Then we moved to California six years ago, and that changed.
The first house we lived in, we still had no feeder. But we soon learned that a hummingbird came to a tree in front of our porch, every single night, at the exact same time (relative to sunset) to sleep for the night. He sat in exactly the same spot, too, though he would take different routes/paths to get there every night, too.
We could set our watches by his pattern, and we often ran to the porch to see him “turn in” for the night.
Then in October, our little neighborhood had a Halloween parade. It was joyful and noisy. It annoyed the hummer, and he left for the rest of the winter.
Now, in our new rental home, we have feeders, and so do neighbors. I see hummingbirds all day, every day, at rest—and everywhere else!
They perch on telephone wires. They rest in trees, one that’s outside our bathroom window. I get to brush my teeth and watch the little guy groom, scritch, hop around from branch to branch, and fend off intruders and rivals regularly. One had residence in a shrubby space outside my old studio door. He would duke it out regularly with the California scrub jay and the mated pair of Steller’s jays that hung out there, too.
A little bird that used to be a complete (visual) mystery has now become a wonderful part of our everyday life here.
Others have even more intimate experiences. A hummer-lover here has one of those hand-feeders, and the patience to get hummers to sip the nectar from her hand!
Sharing that here in California, maybe that would get a “meh” reaction. Because it’s ‘normal’ here. But I’m guessing much of my audience back in those states we used to call home? Would be gaga at what I’m sharing today.
Now, if you are someone who paints/draws/writes about birds regularly, you might already be sharing stories like these.
But if you’ve relocated once/twice/a heckuva lot in your life, you have a powerful access to what is unusual, intriguing, and different. You experience first-hand a whole slew of little miracles, every day. (My first was having to go for a run in Baltimore at 6 a.m., in April, to avoid the heat. IN APRIL. If you grew up in Michigan, like I did, your jaw may be dropping right now.)
Every place/time/state/city/etc. has its own ‘normal’. And we get used to ‘normal’, we don’t think of it as unusual at all.
When we realize what we’re experiencing is special, in and of itself, it widens our appreciation of life. It lifts our heart. It can bring joy in hard times. (Remember that little maple seed pod in SOUL?)
And what better way to share that little insight in our social media? In our email newsletters, our blog posts, our Facebook and Instagram posts?
Bonus feature: Do you hate starlings and pigeons because they are ‘useless, annoying city birds”? You might have more respect for pigeons after reading this article and more awe for starlings after watching this stunning video. (Watch this full-screen for the best experience.)
Your shares and comments are always welcomed!
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PS: Help stop the Salmonella epidemic during migration season!