Monday, April 12, 2010

The Hummers Are Back!

I've missed our hummingbirds over the winter. Now, as I sit here at the desk, I can look out and see one or two almost all day long. They are such wonders! These miniscule creatures with the micro-motors and massive metabolisms...I never tire of watching them. It is the triumph of creation over impossibility!

Yesterday, while the garage door was up, one flew in, attracted by the large window, and was desperately beating itself against the glass. I carefully held my hand under him until I could finally close around his tiny body. I almost gasped at the absolute weightlessness. He lost no time returning to the air when I opened my hand but I had held magic for a moment. I found myself thinking about that moment throughout the day and later came upon these facts, some of which I did not know...maybe they will surprise you too.
• They can fly up, down, right, left, backwards, upside down and even loop-de-loops! Amazing!
• Hummers can starve to death in about an hour. (I feel like that sometimes!)
• They consume up to 50% of their body weight in a day. (Me, again!)
• They have tiny little feet that are only good for perching, scratching or preening. This means if they wish to move, even a few inches, they must fly. (Is there a lesson in there for us?)

A riot of hot pink penstemon in my front yard, mostly volunteer, are encouraging the little guys to visit and it is such fun to watch them probing the little trumpets for that all important nectar. Think I'll go have a snack before I starve to death. Yeah, right!