Hummingbird Thoughts

If I had to pick one sound the represents summer to me, it would be hummingbirds.

Every year, growing up in the mountains, my dad would put out a hummingbird feeder.  People in the city probably do this too, but in the mountains, houses are spread out enough that there are less feeders, and therefore more hummingbird per feeder.  We used to get swarms, literal swarms, of hummingbirds around our single feeder.  We'd watch them from our kitchen window, marvel at how you couldn't even see their wings, get ready to boil more sugar water when the feeder started to get low.

Last year I put out a hummingbird feeder for the first time in my adult life.  I honestly don't know what took me so long, because like my dad, I love those little hummingbirds.  I bought the feeder, filled it with liquid sugar, and hung it in my kitchen window, just like when I was growing up.  I hung it a little late in the season, so it took the birds a while to find it.  We ended up with a little lone hummingbird that year.

This year Derek has taken over the hummingbird feeding duties, and he reminds me so much of my dad.  The way he keeps an eye on the feeder, counts how many birds we have, and feels protective of them when something goes wrong.

What could go wrong in hummingbird land, you may ask?  A Rufous, that's what.

Rufous hummingbirds are little orange/red birds that take over your feeder and chase all the other hummingbirds away.  They are mean, they are pests, and unlike our usual Ruby-throat hummingbirds, we have no fondness for them at all.

I came home from the gym the other day and walked around the house.  I couldn't find Derek.  I checked outside, and there he was, standing outside with the hose, getting ready to scare that bully hummingbird away with some water.

It wasn't a bad idea (I actually think it was rather brilliant), but I had to laugh, because in that moment I felt like we had become my parents (when it comes to hummingbirds anyway).

The kids are joining in too.  Wyatt is especially fond of birds, and has been since he was 18 months old (I kid you not).  I used to carry him through the zoo, and he wasn't interested in the bears or the giraffes or the zebras, but every time he saw a hawk or flamingo he would point and cry out "Bird!".  He still examines bird books, draws birds, and wants to know everything he can about birds.  I love that he loves birds!  I am hoping as the kids grow older and less likely to cry, we can become a real birding family.

The other day I walked outside to find the boys running around with their butterfly nets.  "We are going to help daddy and catch that mean orange bird!"  They've been chasing it around with their nets ever since.  If I actually thought they'd catch it, I'd be worried, but as it is I just find it completely adorable.

I am sitting on the porch, typing this, and there are multiple hummingbird sounds, swirling from every corner of our one acre of earth.  Wyatt grabs my phone to ask Siri how to catch a hummingbird.

This is summertime in the mountains.
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Laura Darling said...

I love that you're carrying on the humminggbird tradition, and also that Derek is determined to keep the bullies away!!

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