Hummingbird Withdrawal

Theirs and mine, and mine happens because of theirs. It’s that time of year when many hummingbirds decide to fly south. Do they actually decide, or is it in their DNA?  Last year they did not leave–we had at least 30 hummers overwintering here. There weren’t any nectar-filled flowers in the garden then, so I had six feeders going all winter. It was a challenge to keep them filled but thrilling none-the-less to have all the hummingbirds around. During the summer, their numbers increased to 40 or 50. Now mid-September, it seems they are slowly withdrawing, a “So long” to summer, and it makes me sad in some ways. The hummers are daily entertainment whether it’s their flights of fanciful zooming and diving, hovering at red tubular flowers (Epilobium, Phygelius, Penstemon, others), mating antics, bullying challenges, or playing musical feeders to finally settling down to drink. There are only about 20-25 now, and I’m having to fill the feeders less often. I’m missing the others already, going through a slow withdrawal myself as they slowly depart. I wonder–do they miss the others, too, or are they glad now there is less competition at the feeders? Are some of those gone their offspring? Last year, half of them left for a week and then returned (that was odd). Will those already flown turnaround and reappear? Only time will tell. Is there enough nectar along their southward route to support their need for carbs? Enough minuscule insects for their protein needs? And how will I know? Hover in front of my face when I have my red T-shirt on, telling me you know me, your faithful feeder and admirer! Smile that little smile (have you noticed their smile?) and tell me you’re here for the duration.


About writersandy

Writer, Gardener, Crafter
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