Hummingbird Hijinks

I think I’ve had more hummingbirds this summer in my yard than I have ever had in the 40 years I’ve lived in this house. On these warm July days, I get up early to water the raised bed vegetable gardens. The hummingbirds are always ahead of me, checking out the little pink flowers of the big abelia bush plus any other flowers that might have opened overnight, unaware they will be poked and probed this morning.

English: Hummingbird aerodynamics of flight

English: Hummingbird aerodynamics of flight (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week as I was watering the green beans, a hummingbird flew down and hovered right above the spray. I couldn’t resist. I lifted my hand and sprayed him. He flew away a few yards and I went back to watering. Back he came again, hovering just above the spray. I sprayed him again. He did this a third time–hovering above the spray until I sprayed him.

Enough games, I thought, and turned around to water in another corner. Soon he appeared again, right above the spray. After I sprayed him this time, he’d had enough and flew up and perched on a nearby wire. I’m guessing it actually wasn’t a game for him, but a way of getting water.

Hummingbirds are native to the Pacific Northwest, migrating south in the winter. They appear in Northwest Coastal native art and mythology as a symbol of good luck, love, and beauty.

A hovering Rufous Hummingbird on Saltspring Island

A hovering Rufous Hummingbird on Saltspring Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My brother sent two humming bird stories he had read recently. The Everett Herald recently posted an incredible story, “Hummingbirds Spread the Word about Rescuer.” Connie Jones and her husband were field station directors for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry at a site near the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in east-central Oregon. They managed to rescue and disentangle a hummingbird from a spider web. Several days later another hummingbird (a different species) landed right beside her husband. Its feet were completely entangled with spider web. It’s a great story that you can read at:

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20120707/LIVING/707079981/0/SEARCH

And if you really love hummingbirds, you might enjoy the Las Vegas Review Journal story about a hummingbird rescuer in Las Vegas:

http://www.lvrj.com/news/woman-helps-nurse-ailing-hummingbirds-back-to-health-161656885.html

A color plate illustration from Ernst Haeckel'...

A color plate illustration from Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur (1899), showing a variety of hummingbirds. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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