• 10Aug

    I had seen a few hummingbirds, but nothing like we had last year. In the last week, they finally started visiting regularly.

    When I moved to the burbs (from the boonies) several years ago, my cat had to go from one allowed in the yard (I literally lived in a national forest) to an indoor cat. The only benefit to moving to town was that I could actually put out a bird feeder. Okay, the other benefit was that I could get pizza delivery and could hop in the car and go to the 711 for a midnight twinkie. Woopie.

    Yes, I miss the country.

    Anyway, the hummingbirds seemed to like my hanging baskets of flowers, so last year I bought a hummingbird feeder. At the wild bird store, they showed me this hanger with suction cups so you could stick it to the outside of a window. I bought that too and hung the feeder on the outside of a living room window.

    The bonus of that is the cats can sit on a furniture arm and watch too. I keep safflower seeds in another bird feeder (that I’ve now moved to that same window, probably not so attractive from the outside, but the cats are entertained on a daily basis). The safflower seeds draw in cardinals and finches, but blackbirds stay away. The blackbirds get a yearly buffet from a neighbor’s berry tree and make a purple mess for two weeks.

    Once I put up that feeder and began adding sugar water, they began to come on a regular basis. Within weeks, they were coming one after another, a parade of little hummers. Fabulous!

    Both cats were enchanted, but especially little Jasmine, our deaf kitty. Her deafness is rarely an issue, she has no idea she’s deaf (and even Jack doesn’t seem to realize it, often vocally calling her with a toy in his mouth, ready to play). The down side of being deaf is that she also has no idea that letting out a loud scream of joy when she sees a bird tends to scare them off.

    Deaf cats are typically one of two things: either they’re mostly silent, or they’re vocal, but their communications are inappropriate. They have no control over the volume, and her tendency is to let out these horrid screams. If you didn’t know her and you heard it, you’d swear someone just stepped on her tail. But they are screams of delight, of big joy.

    Last year’s hummingbirds seemed to get used to her, and eventually realized the window was a barrier. She was no threat, just an oddity. Unfortunately, I was never able to get it captured on camera. Maybe this year.

    They danced. There was one hummingbird in particular that was a peeping tom. S/he liked to hover at the window, look in to see what we were doing, and when Jasmine showed up, the bird danced with her. Jasmine was so enchanted by that bird that she stopped her screams, stopped trying to grab the bird through the window, and just placed her nose against the glass, watching, mesmerized.

    The hummingbird would dance up and down, put its beak at the same height as Jasmine’s nose and the two would just look at one another. Then the bird would begin bobbing up and down, left and right, only moving a fraction of an inch at a time.

    It was just too spectacular for words to watch a beautiful little hummingbird interacting with this tiny cat. It always reaffirmed my decision to go organic.

    This year, the hummingbirds seem late, but they’ve finally arrived. I’ve noticed they are most active near sunset, and that’s the best time to sit down and just watch. One after the next, they come and drink. Sometimes one will drink at the feeder while two or three more feed nearby on a hanging flowers.

    I read yesterday that they feed most heavily just before sunset, to fill up for the night, and then start feeding again at sunrise, having grown hungry through the night. Apparently they nest during the night.

    The next time I have a bout of insomnia (an ongoing difficulty), I’m going to go out just before sunrise with my camera and set up a chair nearby. I’ve tried taking pictures through the window, but the lighting is never right and there’s always a glare. Plus it always shows a spot I missed when cleaning the windows. Blah.

    Interesting that it took moving into the burbs to be able to appreciate the beauty of birds.

    Filed under: UnGardening
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    Posted: August 10, 2007 at 10:55 am

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