A Hummingbird Family Lives In My Tree

Douglas Pilarski

Hummingbirds Touch Everyone With Their Beauty

Woody and SweetiePhoto credit: Zdeněk Macháček via Unsplash

Hummingbirds visit me every day in my backyard. There is a tree in my yard. It blooms in yellow flowers, and when they fall later in the year, the ground - a yellow carpet. The hummingbirds live in that tree. I can hear them talk. They make a nick-nick sound when they are around.

I named the hummingbirds since I saw them so often. The boy I called Woody. His girl I named, Sweetie. Woody and Sweetie were a thing. They found space in the tree and built a nest. All-day, back and forth. Build build build.

I had a closeup peek at it after it emptied. The nest was tiny, and the interior, where the birds nestle, was smooth. It was well constructed. Not sure if they would reuse the nest, so I left it untouched.

The nest was ready, situated in the middle of three branches. Sweetie plunked down a single egg, and before you knew it, they were three. They welcomed a bouncing baby hummingbird. The nest was now a flurry of activity. The coming and going seemed never to stop. Without consulting the doting parents, I proceeded to name him Clementine. And what a darling he was.

Did you know hummingbirds can’t walk? Oh, they have legs alright - they’re there for landing and standing- not for walking around. Should you want to make friends with a hummingbird. Place a dish or bottle cap filled with a small amount of sand in the tree. Wedge it in there. Make it stay put. Hummingbirds need to eat sand to help with their digestion.

I always liked to push a couple of apples onto a coat hanger and hang them in the tree. It didn’t help Woody or Sweetie that much, but the other birds loved it. I was surprised by how quickly the apples disappeared. I replaced the cores with new apples every couple of days. Birds need to eat too. Right?

I sat out under that tree in the afternoon to enjoy a cup of tea and a hummingbird or two. Woody and Sweetie were always near. The little birds are lightning quick, darting, diving, and hovering. Once in a while, they would hover in front of me. I think they wanted to get a better look at their patron and protector. It was fun to watch. I read somewhere that they can remember you and recognize you later on, not sure of that. I am sure they liked having me around.

All the hummingbird action got me thinking. I wondered what Woody and Sweetie did all day.

Did you know they eat at fifteen-minute intervals? They will stop at 1,500 flowers a day for nectar. Their wings beat 1,800 times per minute. That much flying around burns a fair share of energy.

When not at the flower, hummingbirds dine on fruit flies, flying gnats, mozzies, aphids, and spiders right out of their webs. They consume about half of their body weight every day- even in the cold rain and snow. They perish if they don’t eat enough to keep their in-flight acrobatics going. Did you know they can even fly upside down?

Clementine, the darling boy, grew up fast and left the nest. Woody and Sweetie dropped by daily even though they were now empty nesters. I am sure Clementine went on to be a lawyer, and his parents, eternally proud, retired to a nearby tree.

Over the years I spent enjoying this giant yellow-leafed tree and its inhabitants, I learned that hummingbirds are fine little creatures that go about their day, get what they need, and touch everyone they encounter with their beauty.

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Douglas Pilarski is an award-winning writer & journalist based on the west coast. He writes about luxury goods, exotic cars, horology, tech, food, lifestyle, and workplace issues!

Beaverton, OR

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