I never thought birdwatching would be an activity that would show up on my radar, but I’ve recently started a relationship with a certain little hummingbird I’ve seen frequently sampling the nectar from the various flowers growing in my backyard.
It all started rather innocently. I noticed him from my bedroom window flitting from flower to flower as I prepared to draw the shades. ‘Oh, what a cute little hummingbird,’ I thought. Then I started seeing him more often. Each evening, I’d go to the window and watch as he sat on the top wire of my tomato cage preening his iridescent green plumage. ‘What a beauty,’ I mused. I began to feel a bit like a voyeur observing his nightly primping ritual. Things were really getting out of hand, when one night, at precisely the time I expected him to show, I sat tucked away in a corner, my camera perched on the edge of my grandsons wading pool. I felt like a paparazzi, waiting to get the million-dollar shot of a superstar. I was so excited. I wanted, no needed, to see him again. To snap a quick photo, something I could cherish in my later years. Who knew bird watching could be such a rush.
I believe I had become quite smitten with this bird. One evening, early on in our relationship, I was in the yard tending my flowers when I heard a th-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t sound in my ear. I turned just in time to see this tiny little bird playfully fly across the yard to my bougainvillea. Was he taunting me?
Then, a few nights later, it happened. I spotted him darting in and out between the bushes, joyfully circling my yard with another hummingbird. I no longer had this precious interloper to myself.
I never expected to get so involved watching birds. I picture myself as more the rah-rah athletic type, too busy to stop and observe, and less like the mild-mannered type I imagined birdwatchers to be.
I have spent a bit of time listening to birds while hiking or walking in the fields where I work. It will be wonderful to finally put a name to the sound of the bird whose song melodiously echoes up the canyon, and the small bird who sings a happy refreshing tune while sitting atop an artichoke plant in the field nearby, and the funny little bird who while dancing furiously, puffs herself up and screeches trying to protect her eggs when I’ve accidentally approached the nest she’s carefully nestled on the ground next to my sunflowers.
Birdwatching will definitely become part of my retirement entertainment. I have started googling local groups I may be interested in joining. This brief interlude has taught me to take a moment to observe life around me and to patiently wait for the prize. I look forward to future Avian Adventures.