One of the best things about living in the US is our birds. They vary from North to South and East to West in variety, size, color and song. But they are all unique and beautiful in their own way.
When bird flu hit, it was scary seeing so many birds drop to the ground. Was our bird population going to be decimated by this disease? Fortunately that was not the case and our birds are thriving all over this vast country.
Very early this morning this beauty was hanging at the boat basin probably fishing. From the coloring I would guess it to be a Blue Heron as there are many around here.
One of our most fascinating birds is the hummingbird. They come in a seemingly infinite rainbow of colors but similar in size and habits. There are approximately 338 different species of hummingbirds in the world. The US has registered a mere 25 species originating within its borders. There are many more species that will visit during their migration periods especially in the desert Southwest that is closer to tropical climes.
To enter a hummingbird aviary is to walk into awe and wonder. All one can do is stand there quietly and enjoy something that defies description. It is almost heart-wrenching to slowly walk through and eventually leave as one really wants to stay there forever.
At Umpqua River Haven we have at times made our own version of a hummingbird aviary. Hang four to six feeders two to three feet apart all in a row. The sugar mixture I use is heavier on the sugar than most recipes and consists of four cups of sugar to a gallon of very hot water. Then watch them come! They will nest in the trees and bring their babies. We have had so many at times that it was impossible to count them.
My favorite thing about hummers is that they live everywhere I do in every state in the Union. Move somewhere or visit for awhile, put out a feeder if it’s not winter and they will come. The first spring hummers are the scouts and are usually Rufus. Rufus are very territorial and will fight off birds as they arrive to protect its feeder. More than one feeder is an advantage to being able to attract a group of hummers and not just one Rufus.
I have held a hummer in my hand that flew into a house and hit a picture window trying to get out. It was stunned and I feared had its neck broken but it felt warm and alive in my hand. I cupped it gently in 2 hands and took it outside and opened my hands. It held there for a moment and then it flew off as if nothing had happened. I felt as free as it must have.
Hummingbirds are very curious. If you sit far enough away from their feeders for them to not feel threatened but close enough for them to notice you, you may be in for a real treat. I have had them fly directly to me and ‘get in my face’ almost literally. The secret is to sit very still and totally quiet and to enjoy that splendid moment!