Flight Paths


After feeding the dogs this morning, I lay down on the sofa for a few minutes. Day was dawning grey and damp as the birds arrived for breakfast. From my pillows, I spied a female hummingbird at the window feeder. (I think the males must have embarked on their migration. I haven’t seen them for at least a week. But there are lots of females flitting about the garden.) As I watched, two more females arrived and squared off with the first to determine who had dibs on this feeder. As each one attempted to take a sip, another would fly in at top speed in an avian game of chicken, trying to dissuade the squatter. In and out of the lilac bush, back and forth to the corkscrew hazel, buzzing like angry bees, they flew. Sometimes they would fly up and down on opposite sides of the feeder like tiny helicopters. Other times, the attacker would fly from side to side in a “U” shaped pattern. From my perspective, it would have made much more sense to stop wasting energy and feed together. After all, there are four ports, not to mention the feeder in the backyard just over the roof. But no, these little minxes obviously had something to prove though I’m not sure what. Of all our migrating birds, the hummingbirds are the ones I miss most in winter. I love their flashy plumage and their cheeky personalities. They are part of the colour of summer just as surely as the flowers in the garden. When we lived on Stewart Line, we had a feeder in the front garden right beside the porch. One day Gary was sitting on the step with his coffee when a young hummer flew from the feeder to the porch and sat right beside him. He must have been very still else the hummer would never have landed. They sat side by side for awhile, the hummer perhaps not recognizing Gary as an animate object as he sat frozen, afraid to break the spell. When the hummer flew off, he flew into the garage and got hung up on the back screen door. Luckily Gary had followed him and was able to release him to fly another day. What an enchanting encounter. In a few weeks, my little friends will be off on their long journey south but in the meantime, I’ll enjoy these tiny flying jewels of the bird world as they visit the late blooms in my garden.

Copyright 2014 Anne Corke

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3 comments on “Flight Paths”

  1. Lovely description, Anne! I’m not sure if the males depart before the females. Maybe I’ll try to find that out.

    Regards, Drew http://www.drewmonkman.com

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” Philip Dick

  2. I’ve just made a link from my website to your cavanreflections site, Anne. Great stuff.

    Regards, Drew http://www.drewmonkman.com

  3. One of those magical moments in the garden, eh?


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