A Story by Margaret186

A monologue about hummingbirds in my back yard and things I have learned from them.



By Margaret Schneider

Whether you live in the city or the country, have a large yard or a small one, there is a simple, easy way to add life to your yard. Put up a hummingbird feeder. Getting the birds to come is relatively easy. Get a feeder. They are inexpensive and easy to obtain. Keep it filled with a sugar water mixture and be aware that once the birds find it you will be refilling your feeder often. A check to be sure the neighborhood felines can’t reach the birds as they feed is a necessary precaution.

My feeder is red with four plastic flowers, small red perches, and bright yellow plastic centers, facing the four cardinal directions.  The clear glass jar, mostly filled with a mixture of one third sugar and two thirds water, waits for the birds. It sways gently as the breeze pushes it on its hanger, about five feet up, attached at a 90 degree angle, suspended on a metal post from the shed.

 I have identified four birds who come every day. Early every morning, around 6, each of bird comes for the first of many meals during the day. They hover and dart around looking for anything new and different. If they see something that mystifies them they buzz off and return later to see if the challenge has been removed, or if they are comfortable with it. I believe at least two of the birds are a pair. I also believe their nest is three minutes from my yard. One will show up and when that one leaves, six minutes later the other will come. They come from the same direction and have the same timing every day. The other two birds come from two different directions and they are probably farther away. 

Each bird has its favorite red plastic flower. They’ve sampled each flower and concluded that one is better than the others. I have noticed that they prefer whichever flower is facing the sun most. So in the morning the east side is busier and in the afternoon the west side is more favorable. There was a spat between two of the birds over the same flower once but it was sorted out in several seconds of hovering at each other. Eventually one flew off and the other stayed. They rarely all show up together or near the same time. They are all different colors and sizes so they’re relatively easy to tell apart.  The pair: one has a green head and red throat and it’s mate is a dull brown. Of the other two, one has a blue head and the other is a noticeably lighter, yellow brown color, slightly larger than the other three.

At the beginning of the season, about a month ago, the sweet nectar stayed in the feeder over a week. But at first there were only the two mated birds enjoying it’s abundance. Now the feeder is drained in four days. The nectar drops about an inch and a half a day. At first I thought the breeze was tipping the feeder but on closer observation I noticed when the birds were feeding I could see bubbles rising like when you get water from a dispenser.

They have all become bolder as time has gone on, and so have I. At first, if they saw anything moving inside or outside they would buzz off right away. My shadow in the window was enough to spook them. They caught me working in the garden. They would hover at a distance and if I ignored them, they’d go to the feeder and feed but not rest on the tiny perch. One day I decided to sit outside and read to see if the birds would be scared off. I wore my large, straw, gardening hat so I could watch without moving too much. After checking me out, and I made no sudden moves, they decided to trust me, or they were really hungry. Now if I open the door, a couple of them will just carry on as if I’m not there. The others will take off and hover but not leave. They’ve even ignored me when I’ve had other people join me.

  As I look out at the feeder now, the light brown bird is sitting on the pole the feeder is hanging from, just looking around. Maybe it’s watching me watching it through my window.

The green headed hummingbird showed up to feed but the larger bird flew at it and blocked it from the feeder. The light brown bird is still there, perched on the pole, just checking things out again. The blue headed bird came to feed but the light brown bird challenged it and they danced in the air for a few moments before the light brown bird flew off and the other fed.

I’m finding this experiment entertaining and enlightening. It never occurred to me that hummingbirds would have territories. For me its like a flying meditation. I can watch the feeder swaying in the breeze knowing that in about fifteen minutes some bird will show up and allow me to watch it do what it does naturally. Its an easy way for me to disengage from my hectic life and appreciate some of the natural world, even if it is a slightly engineered version.

© 2018 Margaret186

Author's Note


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I loved your story of hummingbirds. I feed little wood pegions on my window ledge, just to entertain my cat ( he is not interested in catching, or even chasing them) so many of your observations are fascinating.

Posted 2 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Added on May 27, 2018
Last Updated on May 27, 2018
Tags: hummingbirds, Birds, backyard birds



San Diego, CA

A liver of life, a lifelong student, lover of fun and always looking for new experiences to enlarge my experiences. That gives me more to write about. Being an active participant in life is always mor.. more..

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A Story by Margaret186