Hungry Hummer Can’t Wait


By Wednesday night, we’d had four inches of rain on Green Mountain, and the birds were cold, wet and hungry. The hummingbirds seemed especially desperate, as I suspect that all that rain has diluted the nectar in the flowers.

The hummers were haunting our feeders, which I noticed, actually had more liquid in them than when I set them out two days ago. The rain had driven into the tiny holes, and watered down the sugar water. I decided to replace the diluted sugar water in the feeders.

While I made up some new water and refilled the feeders, hummers kept stopping by the feeding stations. They were not happy to find the feeders missing. I worked as fast as I could, listening to their frustrated chipping. It took me only a few minutes to get the feeders back on the back porch, but that was longer than the little birds wanted to wait.

We keep our third feeder across the yard in a flower garden. As I crossed the yard, holding the flat bowl of the feeder in both hands, a little female hummingbird hovered above my hand, impatient to get to the sugar water. I could feel the gust of air that they produced as she hovered. I set the bowl on top of its post, but before I could work it firmly in place, the female was dipping her beak into the hole between my hands.

I froze, unable to move for fear of scaring the starving bird off. She drank and drank, her hair-like tongue flicking out, for all the world as if she were licking her bill.

After a bit, she felt secure enough to sit on the edge they put on the bowl as a perch. Every so often, she’d flutter her wings, keeping them warm in case she had to dart off. When she did, the buzzing vibrated through the plastic to my hands — I could feel the hummingbird hum.

Finally, she was full — for the moment. Hummingbirds need lots of energy to survive cold nights. I had no doubt that she’d be back. And she was welcome to it.Image

About coloradogeography

Amy Law is a second-generation Coloradoan with a passion for her native state. This translated into a Master’s degree in Natural Resources from Colorado State University, and continues as a lifelong fascination with how people and nature interact. From family vacations in the station wagon to travel for work, she's covered the state, and everywhere she goes, she finds new things to see and ideas to explore.
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5 Responses to Hungry Hummer Can’t Wait

  1. Wonderful photo! We feed them too, and we take the feeders in at night so that we don’t attract bears. We put them out again first thing in the morning, and this year we noticed that they were starting to hover at the sliding glass door, as if to say, “Hello! Hurry up in there!”

    • Next year, I’ll probably have to take them down at night (I’ve brought them in for this year), as we’ve had at least one raccoon that has been trying to figure out how to get that sugar water. It has taken me years to get them to come close to the house, but in the Week of Water, they moved up and have been hanging around our sliding glass door as well. I love them.

  2. Pingback: Eight Inches of Water in a Week | Colorado Geography In Depth and At Altitude

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