Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Hummingbirds

The one inviolable mother's day tradition at our house revolves around Bekah, Anna, and David giving me a hanging fuchsia plant which goes outside our kitchen door, providing food for hummingbirds and beauty for us to enjoy. Over the years I have also made time on mother's day to get the hummingbird feeder out of the closet, wash it out, make new sugar water*, and fill the feeder. Some years the first hummingbird arrives in a few hours, sometimes it takes a few days. Last year I believe it was almost a full week (and that had us a bit worried).

Yesterday as we four settled down for a lunch of Standard Baking Company croissants, scrambled eggs, strawberries, and apple slices, David spotted a male hummingbird resting in our unkempt Rosa spinosissima just off the back deck. The fuchsia had been in place for less than an hour! As the bird rested and looked around, his ruby throat flashed in the sunlight.

Not long after a female appeared. (Sometimes the males seem to be advance scouts, with the females arriving after.) Each visited a few more times during the afternoon and found the feeder, too. This was a record-setting mother's day for hummingbird visits. Maybe they've been in the neighborhood for a while just waiting for the Curtis-Healds to get their act together.

*To make hummingbird food sugar water: stir 1/4 cup white sugar into 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool before pouring into the feeder. That's all there is to it! (Except changing the food and cleaning the feeder at least once a week in cooler weather, more often when it gets hot.)

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