Friday, July 19, 2013

Waiting for Enchantment

The man at Wild Birds Unlimited in South Yarmouth assured me that this was the best hummingbird feeder, and that if I filled it with a 1/4 sugar water mixture, the hummingbirds would come. I bought it, of course, then bought an appropriate hanger from Brown's in East Longmeadow. I hung the torenia on one side, the hummingbird feeder on the other, and placed it by the honeysuckle near the window where I could see it while eating my oatmeal.

It's only been one day. So far, no hummingbirds, but I'm patient. What I want to know, and the man at Wild Birds couldn't tell me,  is how the hummingbirds know it's there. I have, in the past, planted flowers reportedly more attractive to hummingbirds: bee balm, phlox, salvia, but to no avail.  What sort of communication system do they have to get the word out that there's something new and sweet in Jane's yard?

Though attracting hummingbirds to my home in Springfield has so far been unsuccessful, I did find them once in another part of the country. My friend Beverly and I were visiting Taos, New Mexico. It was a rainy night, and we went out to dinner at a lovely place whose name I don't remember. When we finished, the rain had stopped, so we decided to go for a ride, following the trail of   the Enchanted Circle, a route out of Taos, up to Angel Fire, Red River, Eagle Nest, Questa, and back to Taos. The trail, as the name suggests, is a circle, except, well, we missed the turn back to Taos and kept going almost all the way to Colorado.

During this unplanned excursion we saw a bear, a herd of elk, and sadly a deer who didn't run fast enough to miss our car. Fortunately for us, the car was still drivable. Fortunately, because there was NO ONE else on the road, aside from the wildlife, and even if we had brought a cell phone, it's doubtful there would have  been any reception.

Eventually we figured out the mistake we'd made and turned around and got safely back to our B&B in Taos. The next day I went to the State Police to report the deer, but when they sent someone out, it was gone. I like to think it survived the encounter, but I don't think so.

Anyway, earlier in this adventure when it was still light, and there was still some civilization around, I needed to find a bathroom. We came upon a gas station somewhere between Angel Fire and Eagle Nest. It wasn't open, but there were porta-potties, and any porta-potty is a storm.

When I got out of the car, I heard a low dull sound, like a muffled engine. When I looked around I found its source--clusters of hummingbirds--maybe 100 of them--feeding off the several feeders there. I just stood there. Seeing one hummingbird is a delight, but this was beyond anything I ever imagined. Because our road trip had been a spur of the moment kind of thing, I didn't have my camera, so the image lives on only in my memory.

However these hummers communicate, the word had certainly gotten out about this spot north of Taos. I never thought to check what kind of feeders they were, but  I don't think I could see them very well anyway for all the hummingbirds around them. May my new feeder be even a fraction as effective. 

OK, hummingbirds, I'm waiting.

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