April 17, 2014

The Hummingbird's Gamble

On April 11th I mentioned on Facebook that the first broad-tailed hummingbird had arrived, and a friend a few miles north in similar habitat said that she had seen one too.

The bird flew up to the end of the veranda where the feeder hangs during the summer, circled, and left. I had some sugar water ready, got a feeder from the basement, filled it, and hung it up.

He did not come back that day.

It's a tradition that at least one snowstorm follows the males' arrival. I always tell M. that thousands of years of evolution must have prepared them for this possibility, that they settle into "torpor" and wait it out.

Sure enough, on the 13th we had cold rain and graupel turning into snow, with a foot of snow accumulating and temperatures down around 20° F (-7° C).

The sun came out on Monday, but the hummingbird did not. The feeder hangs there — I can see it from my desk —but no hummer has visited it.

Maybe our one early hummingbird kept on flying. Maybe he froze to death. I would like to know, but I never will. Was the early arrival worthwhile just to get a good breeding territory?

1 comment:

Reid Farmer said...

Haven't seen any up here yet