I stepped outside into the cool morning air, stretched my arms and started to soak up another beautiful morning. I sat down in my comfortable chair and began to view the landscape. The garden was alive with birds. Many splashed in the shallow pond, and others gorged themselves at the feeders.
While many people love the heat of the day, and others love of sunsets, nothing to me is more spectacular than the sun rise of a fresh new day. If you're not a morning person then the sound of a few hundred wound up birds would perhaps drive you nuts, but for those who love the mornings, my garden is one of the most peaceful places on the planet.
Besides the bird feeders placed around our yard, we have a few varieties of wild berries that provide an abundance of food to attract an array of songbirds. We always provide all the necessities for them to keep returning.
Of course, I haven't forgotten about the hummingbirds. One of the very first things I do is locate every feeder and monitor the activity. On the cool mornings you never know how much they'll be moving around in comparison to the other birds, but on one feeder tucked under the trees, one lone hummingbird gripped tightly onto the feeder perch and remained motionless. It never moved for several minutes but it isn't uncommon on crisp mornings. I frequently would glance at that bird during the scan of the yard. Still no movement. It appeared this bird was in a state of torpor. During colder temperatures, hummingbirds go into a mini hibernation state where the heartbeat slows down and therefore doesn't consume as much energy. This allows them to survive an extended amount of time until warmer temperatures arrive. I wanted to be sure so I slowly approached this motionless bird. I started about 30 feet away, and had myself within 10 feet until I woke this bird with a startle. It had little time to prepare for the approaching threat and immediately jumped into flight. With no time to stretch or gather its intentions, it clumsily plummeted into the grass. It sounded like tissue paper in the wind as it struggled in its awkwardness. So I walked up carefully without causing further stress and I reached down and gently grasped this fragile life. It didn't struggle or appear to want to leave, so I just held it gently and admired the beauty of this extraordinary little creation. The eyes remained wide open as it stared back at me. I couldn't possibly imagine what it was thinking. Perhaps it was just as impressed with me as I was with it. It felt like I was holding nothing. It was weightless, and yet numerous little organs and millions of cells were formed into the most precious little thing I've ever held. After admiring it for about a minute, the warmth of my hand must have livened the muscles and organs. It began to move in my hand and was ready for release. I raised my hand slightly and slowly opened it. It lunged to freedom but only to about 20 feet above my head. It perched on a branch and observed its surroundings. This young male Ruby-throat stretched it's wings and legs before taking to flight. I'm certain he won't remember it for long, but it'll be forever locked in my memory!
August 10, 2018. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
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