Like most folks, my husband, kids, and I greet spring’s arrival with relief. The relaxing of winter’s grip, the first crack of color between sepals clutching flower buds, the sun’s liberating warmth all lighten the load my family balances gingerly as we carry it through winter’s dimly-lit cellars. But as daylight’s gold, pink or orange borders stretch from their winter proportions to become a mazy, five in the morning €˜til nine-thirty at night field of shimmer and electrical storms, we pay particularly close attention to a tweak in light that occurs around April’s third week. At a certain change of pitch in the sunshine’s angle and intensity, hummingbirds return to traditional nesting sites in our southeastern Utah neighborhood from snowbird resorts in Mexico. Continue reading “How to free a hummingbird from a skylight”
Parts of this entry rise a little above-average personal in nature. I don’t mean to make this an “alms before men” post. I want to try to show how easily— for me, anyway— thinking can slide between my experiences with animals and the ones I have with people. Also, I don’t remember ever having written down the “Hillbilly Dilly” episode noted below, and since the hummingbird called it to mind, after my not thinking about it for many years, I imagined the moment right for the telling.
April 22, 2008
At the cliff this morning, I find a colony of white-throated swifts fully active, hunting the wild blue, tangling into the wind gusts that stream through the canyon’s channel and splash against its rocks.
A vulture passes by, very low, slightly out from the ledge where I sit.
A swift just cut in quite close, the vrrrrr of its wings as they sliced air sounding like a miniature jet. A pair of hawks circle high overhead.
Will eagles come? I barely finish writing the question when I look up to see a golden eagle, juvenile or maybe second year, brown feathers flecked with white. As I gaze up at the eagle, a black-chinned hummingbird rises like a helicopter into my line of sight, directly between the eagle and me, probably examining the burgundy tones in my shirt, faded overall but most vivid in the cuffs.