Friday, November 12, 2010

The Hummingbird

I've been looking at my backyard for a few weeks now wondering when I'm going to get the enthusiasm to tackle the jungle I've created. My sole purpose in planting so much stuff was to create a wildlife habitat for my local wildlife friends and their northern friends when they stop by for their annual southern visit. Also, being one block from the Atlantic Ocean, I needed to create a barrier from the hurricane winds that occasionally pay their visit. Fortunately, several years ago when my area was ravaged by several hurricanes, my 35 year old house stood tall and strong, saved by the jungle I'd tirelessly planted over the years. Like loving arms my huge bougainvillea wrapped around the back of my house sheltering it from harm. Newer and more manicured homes in the area were not so fortunate, as their roofs were ripped apart by the destructive 130 mph winds. I guess there's something to say for having a jungleized mess.

I was in the backyard placing sunflower seeds out for my pack of squirrels I've adopted and I kept hearing these strange sounds coming from the bushes by my daughter's bedroom. I didn't recognize the sound but knew it was some sort of bird. I figured one of my regular northern visitors was beckoning his welcome call letting me know it was here. I was wrong.

I went into the bedroom and looked out the window and there he was, a ruby-throated hummingbird fluttering away about 1000 mph drinking nectar from my firespike bushes. The humming sound was so loud and it kept making these faint little chirping sounds. The little hummer was probably six inches from me and had no problem allowing me to watch his nectar drinking from the bright red, tubular flowers. I kept watching for about 10 minutes until it buzzed out of site looking for something else to drink from.

The little guy gave me a new appreciation for my over planted yard. I thought about many of the yards in my neighborhood and wondered how many people planted anything with an animal, butterfly or bird in mind. It wasn't the first hummingbird I've seen grace my presence, but it was probably the closest I'd ever been to one. Florida hummers aren't as colorful as many others that grace other areas of the United States, but they are just as spectacular.

The ever deep thinker I am (sometimes too much for my own good), the tiny bird made me wonder just what us humans had brought to this planet we call home since our arrival. For the life of me I couldn't think of one thing that was positive. Every invention we've created has been for our own good and not for Mother Nature, or the beautiful planet she allows us to reside on. It seems we destruct for our own pleasure and then perhaps create something to clean up our mess.

I hope when she smacks us down with her heavy hand some small creature puts in the good word for me. My neighbors probably wish I had a clean, pristine looking yard with every plant placed in an organized fashion, but I figure the good old mother will take one look at the mess and give me a hall pass. If you'd like hummers to visit your yard, plants that produce tubular flowers such as firespike and coral vine are good choices. They are also native to North America, making them hardy additions to any garden. Hummers really go for bright red flowers that are tubular in shape. May you be graced with a visit from a tiny bird that gives you an excuse not to do yard work for one more day.

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