The Hummingbird Feeder

It’s Christmas Day 2021. Actually it’s Christmas evening now. About an inch of snow fell and there is more in the forecast for overnight. It has been a quiet day for me. I don’t drive in the snow so I didn’t see my family today. I still had a few visitors though. Even if they were the feathered kind.

Feeding frenzy

Here in the Northwest, most of the birds fly south for the winter in search of warmer weather.  And right now I wish I was with them.  I miss sunny skies and warm air.  But I am home weathering the winter along with the birds who stayed behind.

Hummingbirds remain in western Washington all year. This time of year is most difficult for them and I try my best to keep their feeders full and thus their bellies full. My sister even sent me a new hummingbird feeder for Christmas. However, I am not sure yet if the birds will take to it.

A Christmas Gift

It’s beautiful, but the color is blue and they are more partial to red.  I hung it on the opposite side of the house as my other two red feeders.  I look forward to watching it.  She also sent me some hummingbird houses that look like giant, straw teardrops.  I am not sure the little birds will take to those either.  

I’ve only seen one hummingbird nest.  It was tiny like a small teacup.  If the hummingbirds don’t use it, then maybe other birds will.  I look forward to finding a place for them in my yard regardless.  And even if they don’t nest in them, they could provide some solace.    

Thinking of hummingbirds and loved ones today reminds me of a memory from many years ago. I was visiting my cousin in Walla Walla. Not the prison, though that’s nearby. The town that is known more for wineries than its penitentiary now. Though years ago on this particular visit, the latter was still more well known.

My cousin drove me out towards a very small town.  The name escapes me at present, but the house was not in the town anyway.  An elderly man lived there.  He opened his home, or rather his yard, on the weekends for people to visit in the summertime.  It was a magical place.

You could hear the hum before entering the garden.  There were hummingbird feeders everywhere and one had to walk slowly and step carefully along the paths.  Hummingbirds buzzed overhead and around people to the numerous feeders and flowers.  Flashes of green and red caught the sun like little jewels being tossed in the air.  They would dart and dive and drink and do it all again.    

I can close my eyes now and picture it. I can feel the sun warm my skin and the humming buzz in my ears. There was such wonderment and peace at the same time. Blink and you could miss a bird altogether. So quick. Here and then gone.

Last Summer. My own yard. Wishing I had photos instead of just memories of that magical place.

I wish I remembered the man’s name.  The one who fed the hummingbirds. I only remember that his wife had passed away and she had loved hummingbirds.  He must have loved her greatly to keep her garden alive and her feeders full so the birds would come back.  

I have a bad habit of over romanticizing situations.  But here I go again.  So it is my imagination that claims he kept the hummingbird sanctuary alive in her memory and that she sent the birds to him so he would not feel so alone.

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