Late spring always brings a sense of anticipation to the homestead. We’re eagerly awaiting the herring run and the accompanying humpback whales, orcas, and Dolly Varden char. We anticipate fresh garden and wild greens, and warmer weather. With all of this, one wouldn’t think that the arrival of hummingbirds tops our list. Yet, it does.
We hear regular reports from birder friends as to where the closest hummingbird sightings are to the south of us (last I heard: Wrangell and Sitka). We’ve watched the winds lately, which have mostly been northerly, to see if and when they switch to the south, providing a needed tail wind for the migrating hummers to ride north (Saturday had southerly winds; Sunday, the wind switched from light southerly to northerly—see A Good South Wind). We filled our feeders last week, just in case (see Recipe: Hummingbird Feeder Nectar). Now, we wait.
We appreciate the hummingbirds for their pollination activities, and their hunger for mosquitoes, but mostly, we love them for their entertainment value. As soon as they arrive, they’ll start pushing each other and the other local birds around, aggressively guarding the feeders from all comers. I read a while back that the Aztecs believed that when their warriors died, their souls became hummingbirds. That explains so much!
My favorite local comment, which I wish I could attribute properly, is: “If hummingbirds were as big as ravens, they’d kill us all!”