An Array of Hummingbirds
Three varieties of hummingbirds have taken refuge in our backyard: a Black-chinned, a Broad-tailed, and a Rufous. The Rufous is the most territorial, zipping in with fierce determination anytime the other two dip in for a drink. His tail feathers are a striking blur of russet, black and white as he fans them out mid-flight. And he seems to prefer to sit at the feeder, taking long dips into the nectar. The Black-chinned is a confident rival. Engaging in a display of aerial acrobatic duels, both hummingbirds will chase and scold then eventually retreat to different feeders. The Broad-tailed seems to be the sweetheart of the mix, opting for less intrusive drinks from the flowering vines scattered across the yard. She hovers and dips, hovers and dips all the while keeping a watchful eye.
I am enamored by their swiftness. More than once I've been surprised by their almost silent arrival. I'll look up from my book and see a flash of color and then realize one of the hummingbirds is hovering right in front of me. The soft whirring vibration of their wings fills me with delight. I am equally pleased each time I see one perched on an aspen twig, preening or pausing to rest under the shade. Tucked into the leafy branches, they are barely visible which gives my heart much needed reassurance.
Each of these late summer days brings another miraculous display of tiny winged beauty. By mid-September, they will be gone as they continue their southern migration. I'm grateful to offer them a safe place to land. I benefit equally as they drink in life's sweetness.