When I was a child, I’d never seen a hummingbird. In my teens, I saw one, but that didn’t count. It was on the city sidewalk and it was dead. However, for the last several years we have had several feeders full of nectar and have had hundreds of hummingbirds, I think. Maybe they are just the same twenty or so that return year after year. After all, we do have lilies, crepe myrtles and other assorted flowers that last from March through October.
One year we had one that stayed around until close to November. That was odd because all the other birds left the last of September. We would call him Old Grumpy. He would sit on the perch of the feeder and fluff his feathers. If any other birds flew by, he would shoo them away and then sit back on his perch. That’s not unusual for hummingbirds to be territorial or possessive, but this bird sat there all day long. He only left to catch bugs.
The first time I saw a hummingbird try to catch a bug, I thought the bird was crazy. The way he would swoop high in the air, swoop down and then go around in circles. After they would finally catch the bug, they would dive immediately for the feeder.
I was amazed to see how many people were afraid of these little birds. A friend said he knew a motorcyclist who was injured by a bird who flew directly into his face. Ouch! Those beaks are sharp. Every time we come around the corner of a house, we make sure that no hummingbirds are headed our direction.
One time a hummingbird came into the garage and flew around for a long time trying to get out of there. We tried to shoo him out, but he didn’t know which way was out. Later he was so tired, so we took him outside. He was too tired to fly. We made up some nectar and forced his beak into the water. His little tongue lapped it up. After a few minutes he flew away.
Whenever the feeders run out of liquid, a hummingbird will fly in front of the large living room window and fly back and forth for a few minutes. Every year, around mid-April a hummingbird will do the same thing. That is the way we know it is time to hang the feeders or refill them. They have trained us well.