We used to feed all the birds. We had thistle seed for the finches. We put out mixed seed for the various songbirds. We were sure to have plenty of black sunflower seeds on hand. And we scattered unsalted, roasted peanuts in the shell for the scrub jays.
We tried a suet feeder for a couple of years. But it didn’t get much use and was a total mess. Especially if we didn’t take it down before the hot summer months came along.
And we would always have a hummingbird feeder hanging from the eaves. All year long. In defiance of those who say not to do that. It just seemed wrong to take it down for the winter since some of the Hummers stay all year … in defiance of those who say they shouldn’t do that.
The only birds we have continued to feed are the hummingbirds.
There is just something special about the hummingbirds. They’re tiny, cheeky little twits. They complain at us when I take down the feeder to refill it. They complain at each other. They fight over the feeder and who gets to sit where and when and how long.
In July and August, we have a hummingbird bonanza. All the little ones have grown up and the feeder is a hot bed of activity. We have the largest capacity feeder that we could find and still we have to refill it almost daily for those two months.
By the end of August, most of the Hummers have headed south to Mexico for the winter and we can rest our vigilance. It’s always something of a relief.
But right now … right now … they are nesting. There is nothing more delightful than coming across a hummingbird sitting on her nest. It’s always amusing to witness the stoic little thing sitting her ground despite the human hovering near. And looking at what she used to make her nest is always a treat.
We found just such a Hummer yesterday while out walking our dog and cat. Yes. We take our cat out on the leash. It’s a more common practice than you might think.
Our neighbor on the east side of us is not a permanent resident. She is gone much of the time. Since her yard and ours are not fenced, both our dog and cat want to wander over there sometimes. Our neighbor has said this is okay.
She has a gazebo in her back yard with butterfly lights hanging on the perimeter. It was on top of one of the lights that a little Hummer lady decided to build her nest. It looks like she used some dog fur and maybe rabbit fur. There are fine strands of weeds and what looks like flakes of bark from the birch tree in our front yard.
It’s a masterful feat of construction and looks to be very sturdy. Some birds build great nests. Some don’t. Doves are terrible nest builders, but they are great parents. I’ve never observed hummingbird parenting practices so I can’t speak to that. But for sure, Hummers are great nest builders.
Bernd, my husband, managed to get several really good photographs of the little lady sitting in her nest. I got a pretty good look at her myself.
I consider it to be one of the best things that happened all day yesterday. A purely delightful experience.