Here is a post I started in July with only a few days of hummingbird photos in my 2017 collection. I couldn’t stop shooting. I kept postponing the post for more photos. And more and MORE, until one day I realized the hummers had nearly disappeared.
I mention Ravel’s Bolero below, and like that engrossing orchestral piece, the hummingbirds seemed to grow in volume and grandeur to the point it became so exhilarating, it was truly breathtaking. And then with a crash almost, they were gone.
Not quite. There are still a few hanging out, but for the most part my summer-hummer entertainment is over.
I learned Ravel was originally commissioned to write Bolero as a ballet. How absolutely, splendidly perfect.
Turning back the page to mid summer…here is the original post…
July 2017…They’re at it again on the funny farm. We’re in full swing in the hummer-bomber season. Those sex maniacs. Those terrorists. Those living-breathing projectile missiles of mass sugar intake.
Yes. Sugar junkies they are. I worry sometimes…wondering about the timing of things. When to refill the feeders? How long before their gluttonous sexual appetites will need to be refueled?
There’s a jug of fuel all ready to go. Like filling up at the gas station, it’s available. But if you’ve ever refilled a hummingbird feeder you know you wait till it bottoms out. It has to run on empty or you waste the fuel as you inject the high octane sugar water all upside-down then re-twisting the bottom, then right side up it goes, all sugary-drippy down your arm.
I go through about 25 pounds of sugar in the summer months.
It’s ridiculous. This power these hummers have over me.
They are just tiny bombers. They cannot destroy me. Their sexual desires have nothing to do with me.
But they do.
I confess. I love when the hummingbirds come back and eventually go into full swing and drive me nuts. It’s like listening to Ravel’s Bolero. Starts off…Sweet…Quiet…Easy. Then baits you into the sensory experience of MORE MORE MORE. GRANDER. LOUDER. CRESCENDO! APPLAUSE!
Like being a voyeur. I spy on their habits.
More dive-bombing. More seduction. More brilliant maneuvers.
If only I could just for a moment, see a nest. See the the results of the explosive courting embodied in magnificent, quiet creations. The eggs like jellybeans, I read in a beautiful description. The tininess of a heart that will eventually beat at 1260 beats per minute. Unbelievable! I learned the mamas like to lace their nests with lichens. How cool is that?
Meanwhile, the boys just want to mate. Then they’re gone. We’re outta here. You girls fend for the young ‘uns.
Maybe the girls like it that way. Those redneck boys!
I hang my two feeders in the exact same place year after year. The hummers like that. Generation after generation. They like calling this home for the summer season and I like watching the same morning dance with new and old partners, year after year.
They may live 3-5 years but pass on their generational appetites for the same human-mother-fueled-sugar-water-feeders. They’ve trained us well. All the research I’ve read, all the human vocabulary…got nuttin’ on what these birds know and want…and get from us.
Frankly, I can’t tell them apart. I have never named a hummer. That’s ok. I’d be like my grandma trying to keep them straight as they hum around, fooling me endlessly. Freddie? Debbie? Marcy? Hap? Diana? Forget it.
I’m astounded by their brilliance in the early morning light. I have made hundreds of photos, many of which are so similar, so redundant but like fingerprints…every one is slightly different.
If the early morning light is not all mellowed by valley mist, which is all too often the way in July and August, the shadow-effect on the post near the feeders always blows my mind. It’s fleeting. Shadow dancing…moving across the post. A double dance. Worth shutting out everything else for. Gotta catch it just right. Timing is critical.
I experimented. First with the vibrant morning light and ballet rituals, then I became entranced by evening light, when often it appeared as black and white…a dance in montotones. No matter what time of the day during July and August, I would be drawn towards the window. I’d find a spot. And sit quietly.