I knew nothing of hummingbirds until I bought a house with an existing feeder. Because I pictured a bucolic backyard scene dotted with hummers, I couldn’t wait to prepare the sugar-water nectar hummers like.
Google gave me the correct proportion of sugar to water (1 to 4), and I used a bitty funnel to pour the heated-then-cooled mix into a narrow glass container with red plastic ports designed to look like flowers. The flowers are gaudy and scream I’m fake, but hummers like ‘em.
Surprise! If you fill the feeder, the hummingbirds will come. Their aerial exploits and electronic-sounding whirr enthrall me, but I didn’t expect one hummer to dive bomb another to guarantee itself alone time at the feeder. They’re cute but territorial—and require lots of sugar water. Now I’m their bitch.
Faux animals don’t demand regular meals, so I paid a visit to the statue that has long served as my getting-close-to-Austin roadside marker. Ms. Pearl is a squirrel that looms 14-feet high (10 feet of squirrel and four feet of tree stump-like base) outside Berdoll Pecan Candy and Gift Company on Texas Highway 71 West between Bastrop and Austin She may be the world’s sweetest-looking rodent (Sorry, Mickey and Minnie.) with fathomless brown eyes and a pert nose. What’s more, she holds a pecan as if she’s willing to share it with friends and strangers. Hey hummingbirds, there’s a lesson for you!
I’m still in thrall to my memories of whale-watching and puffin-viewing in Newfoundland last month. (When will I stop yapping about that trip? In a year or two. Maybe.) Sometimes, in the middle of the day and for no reason, I recall the way the puffins cared for their nests and remember whales as gentle giants.
Critters, real or not, can be entertaining and comforting. Excuse me now while I fix supper for the hummingbirds.
This post is a lame attempt to divert myself from the heart-breaking events in Ferguson, Missouri, the Middle East, and the Ukraine. I couldn’t write about humans today, and might not manage it next week, either.