I planned to write about the hummingbirds today. I'd been thinking about it most of the day. I was going to title it "Practically a Pestilence." Because around here they are. We must have nearly 40 of them regularly. I am not exaggerating--I have to fill the feeder twice daily. I've gone through a five-pound bag of sugar in a week. Yes.
Hummingbird poop covers the trash cans outside. After we moved the trashcans, the poop falls on the deck. "Hummingbird poop must be small," you say, and yes, it is, but when you have forty birds at the feeder constantly--not several times a day, but constantly--the poop adds up.
As Paul says, if they were insects we would call it a plague. An infestation. An invasion. But they're birds. Tiny, jewel-colored, incredible birds. So they stay, and we watch them in amazement.
That was going to be the topic of my post, and then...
One found its way into the house and got herself trapped in the skylight.
I couldn't reach her. I tried to stand on our highest stool. I reached with the dust broom, but only scared her into flying up into the skylight and bashing her head against the window over and over, until she was exhausted.
So Owen and I tried to tempt her. I brought in a red geranium, placed a pickle jar lid of nectar (I had just made some) next to it on the island counter. Owen's plastic lei was already there.
The hummingbird wasn't looking down, however. She wanted to go up. Up up up into the false sky. She could see it. But. just. couldn't. reach. it.
I worried over her. Weighed the merits of bringing in the tall ladder from outside. I was alone with the children, was it safe to climb a tall ladder up into the vaulted ceiling? What else could I do?
"Mommy! She came down!" Owen said. I looked, and there she was, next to the plastic flower lei on the counter.
She was breathing heavily. Exhausted, battered, frightened. I tried gingerly to pick her up...and sent her fluttering frantically about the room.
At this point my children were excited and scared themselves (most likely because I was saying an earnest chant of "No, birdy, no birdy, no," afraid she would fly back up into the skylight and stay). We opened all the doors, hoping we could send her through one. She flew to the ceiling, the fan, the smoke detector, then disappeared. Owen thought she'd gone out the door, but Barrett began pointing to the floor behind the chair, grunting.
The little bird had fallen to the floor. I was certain she was near death. Gingerly, I placed a basket over her and whisked her outside. Reached in to nudge her out of the basket onto the deck railing. Her tiny feet grasped my finger for a brief second and she was strong.
We backed slowly away and went inside. The hummingbird rested there for a moment and flew away.
I hope she lived. I hope that one of the swarm at the feeder that afternoon was our little house birdy. Maybe they're not such a nuisance after all...