While spending the winter months in Mexico, he had plenty of time to sit back and sip the nectaritas of the South while dreaming of the garden that awaited him at his Northern home in Canada. Then his 3 months northern journey began. He lifted off with a Southerly wind that guided him across the Gulf of Mexico. Hours of flight in the open sky gave him plenty of time to imagine how his garden would look from the summer before. Which flowers, feeders and fountains awaited him at his northern residence. The longing for his summer home was equal to that of mine waiting for what might or might not be Ziggy. With multiple years behind him, I had doubts that Ziggy would make it another season. I waited with great anticipation, not knowing which day one would show. Over the previous 3 years Ziggy's arrival time was May 18th, 17th, and again the 18th. His internal clock was brilliant. My hopes for an early arrive would be trumped by Ziggy's accurate system. I watched every hour, scanning all 10 feeder repeatedly on May 16th. No show. I repeated the same thing May 17th. Again, no show. Saturday, May 18th I got up early once again and watched intently. Nearly every other songbird that I waited for had arrived over the last few days, but only one remaining bird needed to show. With every hour that passed, I had little doubt that Ziggy would be around to continue his legacy. I expected others to step in and show off a little character of their own.
I went to sit under the large Maple tree that towered over the yard, and just then it happened. The speedy little missile did what he always did. He roasted by me very quickly, only to perch on the lowest spindly little branch that was 10 feet ahead of me, just over eye level. His attitude was no better after a Mexican vacation. He arrived with a superiority complex. "Everyone stop what you're doing. Ziggy has now entered the garden". I'm certain the nearby roasting was intentional. He remembered me from last year, but he didn't remain perched for long. I'm sure the feeders had a high priority, but he chose to go straight to the fountain. He had no hesitation whatsoever. He dipped down so quickly and gripped the rock that he remembered quite well from the year before, while the cool water rolled over his feet. He did a bit of snorkeling and submerged his bill deep into the water. After a minute of bathing, he sat on the perch specially prepared for him and shook off. Then he went for a second round in the fountain. After a second drying, he made it clear to all the small birds in the yard, he was the one in charge. He terrorized a couple small birds and put the fear into them all. Then he checked out every feeder that hung from the previous year. He drank until he could no more. "Life is wonderful, and I'm finally home!"
May 18th, 2019. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Adult Male Ruby-throat hummingbird.
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