Although I grew up in Maine. . . perhaps BECAUSE I grew up in Maine, I have always loved summer. I love soft, comfy, loose clothing. Cold Diet Cokes on the backyard swing. Balmy breezes. Easy schedules. Children laughing while they play. The crack of the bat at the stadium. And hummingbirds.
This summer I have become twitterpated with hummingbirds. I put out feeders at my home and at our cabin in the nearby mountains in the spring so that the hummingbirds would know that they had a haven. It wasn’t long before they were zipping around and draining the feeder at the cabin before I could get down there to refill it! To solve this problem, I simply bought more feeders and kept them filled by making nectar by the gallon nearly every week.
As the summer deepened, my hummingbirds would wake me at first light with the buzz of their wings and their angry chatter as they defended their favorite feeders. They would feed and then zip over to the limbs of a snag to rest before coming back to the feeder. They seemed mostly unconcerned about our presence. At one of the feeders we could have reached out of the window and touched them as they came to feed, but our intention was to watch and enjoy- not to torment.
But things are changing. The air during the Labor Day weekend had a definite edge to it. Gone were the balmy breezes of summer; replaced by the crisp, clear mornings that are the harbingers of autumn. The hummingbirds seemed to have a new-found intensity in their feeding. The feeders were the center action as the hummers swarmed them. They must feel the change, too.
Soon the nights will become too cool and my tiny friends will have to migrate to warmer climes. I will miss the loud hum of the broad-tailed hummers, the chatter of the black-chinned hummers, and the aggressive behavior of the flashy rufous hummers. I will miss sitting outside on a warm morning trying to get that perfect photo. I will miss watching my son’s face as he stands at the window watching the hummers hover with rapt fascination. But, I will be ready for them again next spring as soon as the breezes shift to the south and nights become more mild. Until then, I’ll have to be content with the antics of my chickadees.