The Tiniest Visitor

I learned an important lesson in patience a few years ago.  In the spring of 2009, we purchased an inexpensive hummingbird feeder for our back yard, in hopes of finally attracting a hummingbird or two up close.  We had seen a hummingbird flitting around in the neighborhood on a few occasions, so we put out a feeder on our back porch and hoped for the best.

A month went by.  No hummingbirds.  I cleaned and refreshed the feeder.

Another month went by.  No hummingbirds.  Same routine.

Month after month all through the summer, I cleaned and refreshed the feeder, never seeing a hummingbird in our yard but sometimes seeing one in our area.  I got quite discouraged and decided that this would be our first and only year to put out a hummingbird feeder.

Then in the fall of 2009…

At long last - a hummingbird at our feeder!

At long last – a hummingbird at our feeder! (I’ve also learned since this time to never use red dye in the feeder.)

… a hummingbird finally came!

I was quite shocked to look out our back door one day in September to see this site, too.  In a rush of excitement, I dropped what I was doing, grabbed my camera and tripod and set up inside the back door to try to capture a good photo. Photographing the hummingbird that day was much easier said than done, especially in the low light at the edge of our covered patio.  But, I gave it my best “shot,” and was happy to capture a few decent photographs to keep.

In the next few days, we were blessed to be visited by two of these tiny and fascinating birds that capture my imagination so much.  Hummingbirds flap their wings between 50 and 200 times per second, and they can also fly upside down and backwards.  Their hearts can beat as much as 1200 times per minute, and their metabolism rate is the highest of all animals, with the exception of some insects. Oh the wonder of the tiny little hummingbird, one of God’s truly unique creatures!

I was still quite new to photography at this time and believe that I might be able to capture a better photo today, but the excitement of this moment after years of waiting will always be a priceless memory for me.

Patience is a virtue any good bird-watcher must have.  I have never been very good at patience in many respects, but as I grow older and learn more about the virtue of patience, I know it is a quality that I want to foster in my life.  This little lesson on hummingbirds and patience is one that is dear to me now, and I’m glad I didn’t give up too soon.

“Like the hummingbird sipping nectar from every flower, I fly joyfully through my days, seeing beauty in everything.”
– Amethyst Wyldfyre

* Please note that I have also since learned that the syrup for hummingbird feeders should not contain red food coloring.  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology actually discourages adding the red dye, as it could potentially be harmful to the birds.  Here is a good link to full instructions on hummingbird feeders.  Be sure to keep the feeder in a safe location for the birds when they visit, high enough to be away from dogs or other animals in the yard.

NaBloPoMo November 2014

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4 thoughts on “The Tiniest Visitor

    • It was so exciting when I finally saw that tiny little bird! We need to try a hummingbird feeder again sometime, as we did not put the feeder out again after that year.

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  1. I’m not sure well-meaning hummingbird enthusiasts realize that those feeders grow bacteria very readily and the solution spoils quickly, especially on warm days. I change the solution every couple of days in the summer, before it becomes cloudy, and just add about the amount that I think will be consumed in 2-3 days. Better an empty feeder than a dirty one.

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    • Thanks for that good information. We have not put another one out since that year, but I will definitely keep that in mind if we decide to do it again.

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