Wednesday, July 05, 2006


When I lived on the east coast, I'd only seen hummingbirds in the zoo, or at an amazing, rambling garden near Philadelphia that's part of some estate or other (DuPont? I really don't remember) inside a climate-controlled building.

I was thrilled when I realized that hummingbirds visited our little garden in Kensington, CA. We planted a bunch of stuff that attracted hummingbirds and butterflies in that garden, but the absolute best plant we had was The Pineapple Sage That Ate Kensington. The original plant was in a 4" pot and cost us under $5. By autumn, it was over 5' tall, and almost as wide around, and it was covered with little, trumpet-shaped blossoms that bloomed all winter, after most of the other flowering plants had died down. I worked from home a lot, and would sit at my desk in the little 'office' (a small building at the very end of the back deck) with the door open, thrilled as hell whenever I'd catch sight of a hummingbird. After a while, I got to know their feeding patterns, and I'd often go out with my mug of coffee in one hand, and join them as they had their morning nectar. We had a feeder for a while, but decided to forego all bird feeders when we realized that our two Inveterate Hunters (Sam and Harley, our cats) viewed the visitors to the feeders as fair game ("I will NOT pimp for the cats!" was my explanation when I asked David to take down the feeders).

One morning, after I was no longer working, but still going out to the 'office' to check email, I realized that one of the hummers was hovering just outside the office door, no more than four feet from my chair, as if wondering why I wasn't out there with the rest of the guys. It hovered there for about thirty seconds after I turned and said "good morning", and then it darted away.

I wasn't sure we'd get hummers in Portland, but lo! and behold -- we do! Since we'd decided to keep the cats indoors when we moved (for reasons that will take too long to share right now), we felt safe filling the feeders that hung on the deck outside the sunroom, and even adding an elaborate hummingbird feeder, one with four glass globes on a mobile. It took no more than two or three days for the hummers to discover the feeder, and now I see them at least once a day, if not more.

This morning, I saw a ruby-throated hummer at the feeder. If you've never seen one of these beautiful birds, I highly recommend doing so!

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