Tuesday, August 11, 2009
My World: Hummingbird Season
In My World it is the season of hummingbirds. While the rest of the country enjoys hummingbirds in the heat of the summer, for me they arrive in August and stay all winter long.
Though I have seen a few Costa’s females during June and July, it is only recently that the males started to show up again.
Then, on Saturday I saw my first black-chinned male of the season. By Sunday the flood gates had opened and theses tiny feathered jewels are here in force. I now have two rufous hummingbirds battling for my feeders along with at least 2 black-chins and numerous Costa’s hummingbirds. I have already seen some Anna’s and soon the broad-billed hummingbirds will arrive. My back yard has become a war zone with these feathered weapons flying about. They use their tiny beaks like swords or lances and dive at each other to defend whichever feeder they have claimed as their own.
Of all the hummingbirds in the yard the rufous hummingbirds are the most fiery. If they are at a feeder and an intruder tries to feed, they hover in the air, orange tail feathers spread and buzz and chirp and dive until they drive the intruder away.
Unafraid, the hummingbirds will whizz past my head like a shot, and I will flinch before they will. It makes it hard to get anything done, for they are so fascinating to watch. I tried not to love them just because everyone else does. I am a bit of an oppositional child in this way, but I could not resist. They have won me over and I am in love with them.
I will only have this wide variety of species for a short time. Soon most of them will migrate even farther south, and I will be left with mostly Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbirds. The Costa’s will establish their breeding territories and by January and February they will be nesting once again.
I can easily see how native tribes lived so in tune with the earth that they named the seasons according to what was happening at the moment. For me, the season of the purple martins is about to end, as I know they will soon be migrating south. Now the season of the hummingbirds has arrived and after that, it will be the season of the raptors and waterfowl as those species return from the north. I know I still have so much to learn about my desert home, but as the days pass and I tune in to this wonderful world around me I begin to feel the beating heart of this earth and hear the breath of the land. I begin to know and understand the moods of this land I live on, this earth that I am a part of, this place that gives me Life.