Tuesday, April 27, 2010

hummingbirds and orchids

The picture attached is a painting by Martin Johnson Heade.I am struck by the lovely pink of the orchid and the fuzziness of the background.This is a quiet,restful painting and it brings to mind the hot summer of 2007 that I spent in Georgia hosting 13 hummingbirds.

It was wonderful to watch them swirl and dive towards the two feeders that I put out.I had to clean and replenish those feeders every day and eventually,I looked foward to their departure to Mexico or Peru where someone else would take care of them.More than likely they would find jungle flowers to sustain themselves.

What has always surprised me is the way a hummer will come back to the very spot where the feeder was although now nothing is there.How do they remember?They always manage to arrive before I have even thought of putting the red feeders out.

That year,all but two left for points south.I thought the two would never leave but I did have more time between cleaning and feeding.Two things happened that year that caused me to be concerned for these tiny birds.

One lodged in the screen of our porch and I had no idea what to do.Is the beak strong enough for me to poke it out?He flapped and whirred frantically before getting loose.The other close call happened when a spider web in my garden began to swing madly back and forth .I looked and something large was caught and the spider was already starting to wrap the body up.How awful for a hummer to die that way.Closer inspection revealed the body belonged to a cicada who would die soon anyway.I left them alone.

The hummer in the picture is very still looking towards the other bird.I know they are at their winter feeding ground,my yard looks nothing like this .I do have honeysuckle and they seem to favor the yellow flowers of the bougainvillea raintree but they are only temporary here.I am sure they prefer the jungle.If I move will they still come?

This painting suggests languid heat ,muted color and peace.I rest in its beauty with the orchids and hummingbirds.

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