Me and the bird(s)

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 20, 2014

Last spring, I saw a hummingbird flying around in my front yard. In previous years, I had put a feeder out on the shepherd’s crook by the front sidewalk. I used to work on cards at the dining room table and watched those birds. But now I spend more time sitting out in the shade in the back yard. It is cooler there and so peaceful. I listen to the birds and the sound of my little water fountain. For the first time last year, I had to put a new pump on the fountain but a friend fixed it free of charge.
One day between all the rain storms we had been having, I was sitting in the shade of my huge white Crape Myrtle. I love how the branches flow in the breeze. One day the silence was interrupted by a humming sound. I looked around and spotted a hummingbird flitting all about. I have so many flowers, even hummingbird vines, so I didn’t figure the birds actually needed a feeder.
But then I decided to hang one from the low swaying branches at eye level. I wasn’t sure if the bird would come to the feeder with me sitting there, but it was no time at all until I heard a humming sound and there she was going straight to the red feeder. I pretended to read from my book until she came to the feeder; then I would stop and watch every move she made.
I became mesmerized with how she darted in and out and even saw her perch on the skinny branches. She blends in with the color of the tree. My only disappointment is that I have not seen one of the beautiful red-throated males that have been here before. When other humming birds come too close to the feeder, she chases them away. She has established her own territory and “visitors” are not welcome.
Each day I moved my power wheelchair a little closer to the feeder. I got within a foot of the feeder and watched as she came and went. I remembered when I ate my first meal with Joe’s family. I was only seventeen and “skinny as a rail.” Joe’s mother said “You don’t eat enough to keep a bird alive.” These birds eat all day long so I definitely don’t “eat like a bird.” It has been such a pleasure for me to sit out in my “tilt and recline power chair” reading, writing, and watching the birds. I even doze off now and then. I guess this is one advantage to disability. I do have time to “smell the roses” and watch the birds!
I was a little late getting the feeder out this year but it didn’t take the bird long to find it. Do you suppose it is the same bird that I watched last year? Well, she looks like the same type for sure. I began to notice that the liquid was disappearing all too fast. The next day I found that the wind had blown it down on the grass. I bought a new one and it has little perches under each spout. But, so far, she continues to perch on the tiny branches. I will enjoy continuing to watch her as long as possible.
This year another type of small bird (possibly a wren) built a nest in a small metal bucket on my side porch. One morning I noticed that a cat had disturbed the nest and a mockingbird had pecked holes in the eggs. I emptied the nest out by the woods and put the bucket back in the same place. In just a few days, there was another nest and three eggs in it. I couldn’t believe how fast she was able to build a new nest.
Generally when I go in or out the door, she jumps out and either flies or runs away. I’ve used those times to peak in to see if the eggs have hatched. So far they have not and I’ve had to run that cat away three days in a row. I don’t know how long it takes for a bird’s eggs to hatch but I could probably find out if I researched on the internet. I told the kids to leave the nest alone. Well, I should have followed my own advice but I was curious and got too close. I had left the door open and instead of flying away, she flew right into the dining room.
Fortunately, my oldest grandson was here and started to help try to usher her out.
I was so afraid she was going to hurt herself. This had happened once before when my grandsons were boys. It was hilarious that time but the eggs needed their Mother bird now. With a little encouragement from Billy, she flew out.
I was reminded of the time when Joe and I were newlyweds in Indiana; we heard a ruckus upstairs but had no idea what it might be. Joe got his shotgun and I got my broom and very quietly sneaked upstairs. The bird was flying from one wall into another and knocked itself out. Joe picked her up and took her outside. We never did figure out how that bird got up there but I was relieved that Joe didn’t use his shotgun!
PS. The day after I put the new feeder in the tree there were four hummingbirds at one time and there was a red-throated male like I have seen in years past. The day was beautiful with a nice cool breeze, a Carolina blue sky, and fluffy white clouds. I spent most of the day sitting under the tree keeping an eye (and ear) on my new friends.

Linda Beck is a writer, Christian speaker, and now a bird watcher!