RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Category: Little Winged One

Excerpts from a Hummingbird Book I Wrote

 

Several years ago after spending countless hours (years) with my Little Winged Ones and reading anything I could get my hands on for information and then taking notes as I surveyed, scrutinized, examined and study them from every aspect one could… I decided to write a little book about the Little Winged Ones. 

I actually wrote the book backwards, doing the conclusion with all the information about them from migration to habitats, the flowers they liked, what kind of water sources they liked to you name it.  I was writing down everything that I saw, heard and read.  I found it quite exhilarating… as much so as the little hummingbirds themselves. 

I am now doing the illustrations for the little book.  I am having a blast doing each one.  I do not care how long it takes me, the time I put into the little book is very precious to me.  In the end whether I sale one copy or give them away it means little to the measure of pleasure they have given me.

The title of the little book is Midnight Nectar… this comes from a special part of this poem that I wrote… the hummingbird characters and personalities are what help set the title.  I do hope that each one of you enjoys the excerpts from the poem and a little from the books conclusions of as much information that I thought a reader would want and could enjoy, for those that asked for me to share sorry it took me so long….

 

Midnight Nectar  

The Little Winged Ones

 

 

I watch in wonderment at the little wings ones, the hummingbird’s flight of play.  Flashing the colors of their gorget, they cast beams of color like a prism in sunrays.  You see them flitting here and there, their iridescence feathers glowing, bright, shimmering, and radiating a mixture of colors as they dart from place to place…

 

The sight of each little winged ones impressive plumage is eye-catching as they put it on display.  All their colors of rufus, greens and blues, purple, and even copper are all blended and fused to see as they captivate.   Gold and orange, and reds dispersed in many different hues its contrast the identity enabler and too by their size and shapes…

 

They flash each their metallic colors as they put on a show, which is entertaining, sometimes comical as they engage with one another in as many ways.  They make musical notes from the exhilarated speed of their little wings with a constant whirling and hovering here, and their flights of speed so swift , look and see it is high, ever so high over there, each  its own everywhere…

 

Watch as the little winged ones ascend high out of sight then rapidly plummets with a “peep” as it promptly levels off just above the ground, then flies away, bright and smart and oh so quick on their uptake.  Amazing acts these little winged ones, what a show as they try to assert, contend, and outperform on a dare, which one will succeed, they are all very competitive…

All this takes lots of nectar the sweet juices is their food, their fuel.  Sit and watch as they linger at their chosen flowers all of pure raw flavor.   Sipping nectar for their flights and their games of play, watch it now as it makes the chase; it tags, and then it quickly flies away…

 

The hummingbirds I write about are those that spend spring, summer and the part of autumn here in the Pacific Northwest.  Four species that call our home theirs for part of the year are the Anna’s, Allen’s, Rufus, and the littlest of all the Calliope’s.  A few of the Anna’s Hummingbirds live here at Hummingbird Hollow year round.  They are very adaptive at surviving the winters that can get very cold, here in Washington State where the temperature can sometimes be in the 20’s degrees and at times a lot colder.  To survive the night, they fluff up their feathers and adjust their thermostats, decreasing their body temperatures by half and reducing their heart rate which can range can be up to 1260 beats per minute.  Their high body temperature of…

 

I observed for the first time several years ago a new, performance that was put on by a hummingbird during the hottest part of the summer.  The lawns were all golden brown from lack of rain.  While I was relaxing in the shade, I watched a hummingbird land on a slight slope where the wild grass was dried and the blades were all laying one on top of another on the ground.  The hummingbird landed and then commenced to lie down and settled on its belly in the dried grass as it spread it wings wide on both sides.  It laid there sunning itself for a long period time.  I was not only surprised but it intrigued me so.  I had never to date read anything on this behavior.  I thought maybe it was a fluke, but again I was thrilled to watch and scrutinize this same behavior on several occasions over the years after the fact of what seems to be a routine occurrence…

The little hummers never bore me, quite the opposite.  My interest and need to know more has never diminished, if anything I am like a sponge and try to gather and saturate my mind with as much information as I can.   I never tire of watching and studying them; I am thrilled beyond words at their courage to face anything head on.    They entertained me with all their antics and their pure stamina, with their staying power to weather any storm, and their determination in all of their actions.  They have never let me down.  This information is from the four species that live here at Hummingbird Hallow…

Hummingbirds need twice their weight in water every day.  They will drink the dew collected in leaves, or on grass and flowers.  Customary water sources such as birdbaths and in ground mini ponds and Koi Gardens will have to be specially adapted for the needs of the hummingbirds.  The hummingbirds and songbirds require very shallow water for drinking and bathing.  They do not like more than an inch and would prefer even less than that.  The birdbaths and such that we provide for other birds will need to be adapted for the little birds use.  You can add rocks, or you can lay a layer of sand for the correct water depth needed, even too use some small pebbles so they can enjoy and make use of your different water sources.   If need they will use the birdbaths and such but on a limited basic, by letting the tips of their wings dip in the water as they drop down and whiz across the water.   They two will dip their bills in for a quick drink.  Keep the birdbaths clean and give them fresh water every day during the hot summer months.  Here in the northwest even though we get lots of rain, I clean the birdbaths every day.  You want them sterile, you do not want them to pass on any disease(s) to each other and too there are many other birds that use the same water sources.  If you decide to put out feeders for the birds, be sure to keep them sterile, keep nectar fresh and put out only enough seeds for a few hours, we add to the feeders we use a couple of times a day.   Do not use any chemicals of any kind at any time… 

They love to play in the mist from water fountains. They will all join in and chase after one another and the mist drops.  There is much enjoyment to be had if you just take the time to watch them in all their energetic and enthusiastic high-spirited flights of play.  Always chasing one another, raindrops, water mist from fountains, even water from lawn and garden hoses (they love it when you are watering and do not mind that you are right there holding the hose.)  Remember to watch them playing chase with the snowflakes in the wintertime.  They seem never to exhaust their energies in whatever, they find to amuse themselves…

I hope you enjoyed the excerpts that I have chosen.  The book has not been edited at this point, if anyone knows a good book editor let me know… I need one bad….

(All of the photos I picked for this post are of Female Rufus Hummingbirds.)

Little Winged Ones… Hummingbirds In Flight

Female Anna

(Be sure to double-click on the photo(s) and you will see an enlargement and all the details…)

I was sitting out on the back deck this morning.  The sun was so bright and with a hot cup a tea in hand I was feeling pretty good.  The past couple of weeks it finally seems like summer.  More sun than clouds and rain.

As I sat there I was watching the little winged one play.  I wonder what it would be like to have such energy, but I guess if my main diet was nectar I would be overly active too.

Female Anna and a Female Rufus in background

They stole my heart years ago, but living here at what we call Hummingbird Hollow has brought more than just entertainment from the little winged one.  With it came a want to know more about them.  I have spent the last dozen plus years watching, studying and being delighted in all there antics.  I am in the process of doing the illustrations for a book I wrote called Midnight Nectar about the frolics, behaviors and lives of the little winged ones.  I can honestly say there is never a dull moment here.

Female Anna

As I sat there I was spellbound by their aerial feats… I watched a Stellar Blue Jay come through, immediately the hummers gave chase.   They stayed with this blue bird through the apple trees on to the plum trees and then into the thicket and back again.   I am in awe as I watch them take on the bird that is over eleven inches long compared to their two-plus inch length.  Their tenacity is not to be compared to anything that is their size.  I have watched them take on cats, dogs, any bird and us two footers if we get to close to their nests or if their young are just out of the nest.  They are very territorial and if you get within their terrain at any given time they just may let you know you need to leave.

However, if they know you they will come right up and check you out, some of ours look in our windows and watch us.   We have noticed that if their feeder is low on nectar juice they will come and look at us through our windows until we check the feeder.  They will at times watch us through the windows while we are getting a clean feeder, filling it and then meet us where we hang the feeder.  At times they will follow us around the yard.   They love to chat with us, they are very vocal in all ways.  Generally they are easy to live with and are very amicable.

Male Anna

The Stellar Blue Jay is a very noisy bird; they have a lot to say and with such sass.  They have a cheekiness… brazenness that is beyond compare to all winged ones no matter the size.  With their young they are so vociferous, boisterous, bossy and overbearing.  I feel sorry for them.  I think they leave the nest as soon as possible.  It does not take them anytime to be completely on their own and off to a whole new area to live.  That is what I would do!

Male Anna

The Stellar Blue Jay  are a beautiful bird, just a little overbearing at times.  I tried to get a picture of one of them and they knew it and they made it very hard for me to get a good shot in.  They are one of the reasons we do not do many bird feeders, they go through and knock all the seeds out so they can eat all of the sunflower seeds.  They are pretty but have an arrogance that dulls their beauty.

Stellar Blue Jay

The sun was shining through the trees and every time I just got focused, the bird would take flight.

It did not want a picture taken!

This Female Rufus has decided to check me out – eye to eye!

I take hundreds of hummingbird shots.  They are so fleeting it is not an easy task.  I am learning, but to get the lighting right and have the camera set for high-super-sonic speed is a mission and a calling that I will not give up on.  I have so many action shots; hummingbirds are almost always so full of life… highly active.  I have given myself the challenge of taking action shots that are clear and precise and tell the viewer what is going on.  That is not easy… I am going to share some of my ‘action shots’ that I have taken this summer.  I hope you enjoy them and let me know what you think.  I already know I have a long way to go, but I think I have gotten a good start….

Male Anna

Male Rufus – they make it almost impossible to get a picture of them!

Female Rufus

Male Anna

Female Rufus

Female Rufus

Male Anna

Female Rufus

Look… there are two Female Rufus Hummingbirds on the uptake!

Female Rufus

Young Rufus

Rufus Hummingbirds

Rufus Young ~ Hover, Reverse and Backwards Uplift! Amazing Little Winged Ones!

Two young Rufus Hummingbirds

Female Rufus

The Littlest of Nests

Calliope Picture Used with permission – © Wolfgang Wander
Taken In Yukon National

The Littlest of Nests

© 2008….RaeDi

The sun was out and it called to me.

I grabbed my sunglasses, blanket, and tall glass of ice tea.

I collected my two books, a drawing pad, and had camera in hand.

I arrived at the hammock placed under the Apple Trees.

I settled my drink and ample reading material with my paper and inks.

The table was just the right size for all of my needs.

I situated the blanket in the hammock just so.

Thank goodness, I had remembered to bring my small pillow.

It took less than a few minutes for all to be just right.

Once settled, I lay there listening to all of nature calls, a symphony being sung

it almost lulled me to sleep.

I stopped to listen what had I just heard.

Again, I heard to my delight.

I followed the smallest of notes to where they were coming from.

I spotted the nest up in the Crabapple Tree.

A mother hummingbird was feeding her young.

I could see all three.

There in the branches was the littlest of nests.

The Calliope is the smallest of hummingbirds to visit the Northwest.

The faint series of their light chip notes.

Their songs and the site of the lichen-moss nest,

sitting tightly between the two limbs of this small ornamental tree.

Hugging the trunk of this tree, shelter she had found for her small family.

I lay back in my hammock thinking what a great day.

The sun still shining I closed my eyes and listened to the

music in my backyard, it was all there for me.

Everything I could want and everything I would need.

Tried as hard as I could to get a picture of this nest with the little hummers… it was not to be the Crabapple is on a steep slope and between that and so many other obstacles’ I just could not get a picture.  If I continued I probably would have broken a hip.  A wonderful photographer, Wolfgang Wander has given me permission to use this picture he took of a Calliopes’ in nest.

This poem came about as I was indeed settling into the hammock there under the apple trees on a beautiful sunny wonderful afternoon.  I thought I would read some, maybe do some sketching and might get a chance of taking a picture of nature.  The words came to me all at once when hearing the little winged ones and then spotting them.  I immediately started writing the poem down when I returned to the hammock.  Sometimes the best words are the ones that are just there….

A Sneak Peek at Spring

  

Male Rufus Hummingbird

Yesterday, I stepped out onto the deck to call for Ninnie and to my surprise I had a guest; the first Rufus Hummingbird of the season has arrived.  The Anna’s that winter over were none too happy about the new caller.   I have to admit the Rufus are my favorite of the hummingbirds that visit us here at Hummingbird Hollow.  They are so bright; the rufus coloring against the white with the red to orange, gold and copper colors that they flash all are so striking and vivid.  (This picture of the Male Rufus Hummingbird is from last season, the one that showed up yesterday was camera shy!)

Male Anna Hummingbird

They too have lots of character.  They are bossy little things.  Maybe that is why when they are around the other hummingbirds are always so stirred up.  But, even the littlest of all the Calliope’s do not let them chase them off.  They all impress me so with the resilience they have and their stamina for being pocketsize they are so full of pure grit.  They all hold their grounds in such a persuasive way and they have such a large ‘vocabulious’ (my word if you could hear what I hear at times!) way.  They are as aggressive with their vocabulary as they are intractable and obstinate with one another.   Nothing they can do will drive away any of the little winged ones from the other, they all stay their ground.  Nothing monotonous about the way we live our lives here at Hummingbird Hollow.  Makes for very interesting bird watching I never tire of observing all their behaviors.

It is time to get out a couple more feeders.  Our nectar use will be going up daily now.  Once one arrives, the rest are not far behind.  I need to make sure my extra battery pack is ready.  It always lefts my state of mind along with it aiding my inner health when I see the sun and peaks of nature coming into color.

I too noticed the mini daffodils that I planted under the Japanese Magnolia are in bloom.  I will have to take some pictures.  Spring has sprung and I have an added skip to my step.  Seeing the sun shine through the gray skies sure helps, but seeing the first hummer arriving the same day as the little mini daffs are in bloom sure does left my spirits.  I sure hope we have a better summer this year.  We only had a few days of summer last, and between the summer of 2009 till now it has been a long haul.

Days such as today are reasons why I hesitate to move permanently to the south.  I love four seasons.  I know I need a dryer four seasons; I am still looking and will continue to find that right place of mind.  It is all a real adventure and when it is right I will know.  I want to know when one season ends and the new one is upon me.  I love snow, and the first blossoms of spring, and when fall puts on a show of colors and a summer that is full of sunshine.  Each and all have so much to offer.  I cannot see myself living where you do not see the display of each season.

The last of my Hellebore ~ Christmas Cactus Bloom

One of these days I need to take a walk through the woods.  We had some really high winds the last couple of days, enough so that I have lost my power off and on, I will need to take a walk along the beach to see what was stirred up and churned out for me to lay claim to.   You never know what you will find beach combing.  It is one of my much loved past times.  There should be lots of sea glass and old pottery bits to add to my collections.

Isn’t spring amazing? ….

 Mini Daffodils in bloom under the Japanese Magnolia, spring is on the way!

Even the Vinca Vine is starting to show face.  The blossom hasn’t yet open all the way, it too, is taking a sneak peek of what spring may bring us in a few short weeks!  I can hope!

Anna’a Winter Watch

“Hummingbird Hollow”

I live at a very enchanted place called Hummingbird Hollow. There are four different species of Hummingbirds that reside here the Allen’s, Anna’s, Rufus, and the littlest of all the Calliope’s. There are hundreds of the little fellas here during the season. There is lots of chuppity-chup, chip-chee-chee, and chip-see-see notes, which fill the air and is quite calming to me….

The winter of 2007 we had a storm drop over 11″ of snow in less than a day.  We have Anna Hummingbirds that winter over with us each year.  On this day, they took turns watching over their only source of nectar.   The name of this picture I did in watercolor from the  photo I took that day is called “Anna’s Winter Watch.”  Their tenacity and persistence helped to sustain them during this inhospitable time.   The snow and extreme weather did not detour their lively personality.    With some of the Anna’s staying the winter, we have their entertainment year round.    With hundreds that call our home their home during the season, we have called our place “Hummingbird Hollow.” ….

“Hummingbird darts lightly through the world, spreading its message of joy and beauty, and teaching us to appreciate the wonder and magic of everyday existence. Hummingbird brings the gift of joy. Learn to laugh and be happy”…Author Unknown

Anna’s Winter Watch   

© 2008 ….RaeDi 

The snow flakes kept descending, hours never-ending.

Their size expanding  between interludes of flurries and

      a sightless whiteout.

In a short minute of time, the limbs of the apple tree are

     leaden, heavy with snow.

The intense brightness of the snow makes it appear blinding

     and reflecting a brilliant glow.

The Anna’s sits a top the trellis , its mind only aware of

     keeping watch over their nectar.

Their only source of fuel for their endurance of this

     wintry weather.

Those few who choose to winter over, take staid, each

     their turn of this winter’s watch;

As with the snow they too will go on doing, safe keeping

     of their nectar they will persevere nonstop.

 

I have learned over the years, that from one day to the next I do not know what I will be thinking about or if I will put words to paper.  I am not sure what triggers my writing or its style.  In the poem, “The Littlest of Nests” I was just going to lay in the hammock for the afternoon and read a little, close my eyes for a few and maybe even do some sketching.  However, I had not been in the hammock long when I heard the notes of the Calliope Hummingbird.  When I found her and the littlest of nests tucked between two branches, with two little ones, the words just came to me.  The words were there when I woke up in the middle of the night and saw, “The First Snowfall of the Season.”  “Full Circle” came about when I finally knew what going full circle meant.  Whether it is poems, light stories or even events in my life, it seems with age comes putting my words to paper.  My writings are maturing as is my art and photography.  I would rather do anyone of these three things and/or traveling more than anything else in the lifetime I have left, it makes me complete.   I find with age, there are so many things that do not need to be done or that can wait, so many things that I use to “have” to do can be put on the back burner while I do the things that make my soul/spirit grow.  I like the feeling I get from doing my words, art, and photos.  I still love gardening, gourmet cooking and such.  Nevertheless, I would rather be out in nature taking pictures and letting my mind wander.   It is these times when the words are just there and I put them to paper.  For the most part, it is a way of letting my children, and future grand children know who I am, and who I was, the words, photos, and art are there for them to see and know what made me me.  I now wish that I had started this many years ago.  I hope that each one of my future family ~ as they read my words, look at my pictures and my art ~ they will see my spirit and my love of life, all of nature, people, anything and all of everything that surrounded me.  My love of my spiritual base it is the true me; it is what makes me whole.  When I am with His creations, looking at His skies day or night, seeing and hearing His timing in the ocean waves, too His rivers, mountains and deserts they all feed my soul make me feel so alive.  All His seasons, it amazes me all the colors He uses ~ every color from all spectrums’, in every direction that I look.  I am where I want to be.  The notes He made for us to hear.  The wonderful senses He created for our pleasure and the amazing tastes from every corner of this earth ~ each a culinary experience.  I have learned over the years, that from one day to the next be able to feel all the textures from sand of the ocean or desert to the petals of a rose and all that are in between, I wonder will I get to experience it all before I take leave of this life, I hope so….RaeDi

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