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Posts Tagged ‘hummingbirds’

Although I once had a mitred conure I called “Samson” that could talk. He knew about 20 words when I had to give him up. My family made me give him up.

No, not really: the orange Manx-cross barn cat we adopted made me give the bird up. That kitten was not afraid of that bird’s beak. I gave Sam away to save his life.

The kitten belonged to my son. I kept the kitten because my son desperately wanted that cat.

Rabbit trail: my son wanted to name the cat “Orangey”. My husband and I, wise parents that we are, said, “Why don’t we all put in two names into a bowl and the name we draw will be the cat’s name?” Everyone was enthusiastic and the names were written. I don’t remember all the names now, but Orangey and Benjamin Franklin were two of them. Ziggy was on four slips of paper: my husband’s two and my two. We named the cat “Ziggy”.

Not sure if my kids ever forgave us for that.

Birds.

I spied a house finch in the bird feeder the other day and decided to try for some good photos. I put the 300mm zoom on my camera and snapped a number of photos, about half of which I trashed. The ones I kept were startling.

I loved how bright red he was.

This photo made me pause. There’s really something odd about the bird’s head.

Um… That right eye does not look good.

Here you can see the left eye, which is normal, and the bulge where the right eye should be. The finch has Mycoplasmal Conjunctivitis. I am so sad!

When I snapped those photos, I thought I was looking at a healthy bird. It was only when I uploaded them to my computer that I realized what the camera saw that I did not see.

Saturday, after we came home from hunting mushrooms, I decided to sit in the garden a while with Harvey.

That was when *she* came into my life.

She buzzed around the garden before settling on the little white wire fence just three feet from my nose. She stuck her tongue out at me. Literally, not figuratively. Well, maybe she was smacking her lips.

Do birds have lips?

No, she was definitely sticking her tongue out at me: “You don’t have a camera and by the time you get one, I will be gone. Neener neener neener!”

Ah, but Sunday came.

And I was armed with a hoe, an edger, knee pads, gloves, and a funky straw hat to ward off the sun. I brought along a bottle of water. And I kept my camera on a chair cushion within easy grasp.

I was ready for her.

Oh, I was ready for her.

Do you see both of them? One is up in the upper right of the photo and the other is hovering in the lower left. Two female Black-chinned Hummingbirds. I think my little Tease finally chased the Intruder off. They certainly went at it for a few minutes, hummingbird-style.

One male came into the garden, too, but he was camera shy. I could not move quickly enough to snap a photo of him.

Isn’t she beautiful?

She spent a lot of time resting like that. I suspect she not only has a nest nearby but she is exhausted from taking care of it.

She certainly is the friendliest hummingbird.

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I did something today that I almost never do: nothing.

It is nigh impossible for me to sit and do nothing but that is pretty much what I did today. It was… nice.

I pulled up a lawn chair, poured myself a tall glass of lemonade and later one of sun tea, set my camera by my side “in case” and then I leaned back and enjoyed…nothing.

I started the day with a mile and half walk with Harvey before it heated up. He was beyond excited: we have not walked nearly as often this summer as we did last summer. I blame the spectre of grief: I had no energy. But sometime in the last couple of weeks, that process has reached a turning point and I feel energy seeping back into my soul and spirit. Of course, my energy surge also coincided with the rise in mercury here in the Pacific Northwest: September rolled in with a heat wave worthy of late July and early August. We’ve had glorious long days of sunshine and temperatures that have touched the nineties (farenheit).

Glorious summer.

So I wrote in my journal and listened to the day’s sounds. We live on the flight path from southern airports to PDX and there are two small airports nearby: Mulino and one over by the golf course off of S. Beavercreek Road in Oregon City. Lots of small airplanes buzz our house in their effort to catch some height. Float planes come off of the Willamette River below and circle overhead as they seek altitude. And commercial airliners drop altitude overhead as they near Portland International Airport.

September 11, 2011: ten years after. It was wonderful to listen to airplanes drone overhead: bi-planes, float planes, two-props, single props, MD-8o’s, 727’s. Ten years ago, air traffic came to a screeching halt for a full 14 days. I thought if any tribute was fitting, it was this: the freedom to fly.

Speaking of the freedom to fly, the reason I kept my camera handy was the proximity of the hummingbird feeders to the chair I was lounging in.

While I filled in my journal, at least three different hummers attended the one feeder in the shade. I identified one as the Broad-tailed and one I think was an Anna’s. One was a female hummingbird and beyond my ability to identify.

I shot all my photos with my 18-55mm lens so they are all grainy. I have been unable to set my Canon to a faster speed (I’ve followed the instructions in the manual but it keeps defaulting back to 125ASA which defeats the purpose of trying to stop motion). I plan on upgrading the Canon early next year with one that comes with a good zoom lens and the manual mode isn’t broken on. I can take much better photos on manual.

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Isn’t it a beautiful thing to possess the freedom to fly? I know the analogy between hummingbirds and 9/11/2001 is a stretch but it is all I have.

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