Monday, August 23, 2010
Twenty-Six Hummers Humming
One of my harshest blog critics really enjoyed my last hummingbird post, so I felt justified in writing one more, if anything new happened. Well, here it is. Last evening just before dusk, when the major swarming goes on, I was sure there were more than seventeen hummers at the feeder (17 being the old record). Now they are difficult to count even when ten of them sit sipping on the nectar dispenser. But with a little spacial geometry I was fairly confident of a minimum count of twenty-one. I even called my friends the homeowners to boast of my new record bird count.
Shortly after the call, I was sure even more birdlets had come in but how to tell, my quantitative needs were beginning to overwhelm my qualitative delight at being three feet from this quiver of hummers. Then it struck me, there used to be two feeders hanging on the deck, so I could install a second hook the next day and maybe tomorrow night.... wait! and even better idea!!
I filled the second feeder, I had the sugary brew ready for a post-dusk refill anyway. Then I just slide the screen door half way open and stuck my hand and arm out with the feeder in my palm. It took about ten seconds for the first hungry hummer to check it out, once he landed on the far side of the feeder, the side away from the big white tree it was hanging on, the hummer gates opened and soon I had five, then six, the seven birds feeding from the feeder in the palm of my hand.
With both feeders having static birds and one fluttering queue for each I was able to count first twenty then twenty-two and finally twenty-six verified hummingbirds at one time. With the math done, I was able to simply wonder at the tiny birds landing nearly in my hand. It was then that one of them decided that feeding slots eight, nine and ten (where my arm connected to the wrist bone), well those feeding stations were open too. He landed on my thumb and hopped up to the feeder perch. Again, hummer see hummer do. One than more would land on parts of my wrist and hand and make their way to the perch.
Eventually one of the hummers landed on my forearm and sat there staring up at the big white tree. I wonder what was going through her bird brain? I know what was going through mine -- avian ecstasy.