Wednesday, April 17, 2013


By Linda Robinson
March 15. Every January for several years, I’ve highlighted the date on my calendar and decorated it with smiley faces. By the actual due date, I’m pumped with excitement. I usually wake before daylight in eager anticipation of the beauty I expect to appear outside my bathroom window.

Some years, I open the mini-blind and have to wait a few minutes before I hear the faint whirr and he appears out of the blue-gray sky as if by magic. Other times I open them, and he’s already on stage. He never seems to mind that I’ve opened the curtain and caught him in the act. I imagine him saying, “It’s me again. I’m baack!” Yes, just three or four grams of iridescent feathers, tiny feet, and long skinny beak can lift my spirits way high.

My little Rubythroat hummingbird’s faithful return is the highlight of the year. The first one of the season has a way of giving me new perspective, energy, and hope. I know that the long winter is over, and more hummers will be migrating through. They stick around a few days and “fatten up” before they continue north to their breeding grounds.

Toward the end of July, they return in aggressive, territorial multitudes and stay around until mid-October to put on an extra gram or two for the long flight home. Imagine a bird that tiny flying all the way to Mexico or Belize! That’s almost more than I can comprehend.

Through the years, I have been privileged to have one or more hummingbirds stay in my yard the entire winter here in south Alabama. When I call to alert Fred, a licensed bander from The Hummingbird Study Group, he comes early the following morning with all his birding paraphernalia. He instructs me to take down all my feeders and places one of them inside a special wire cage with a trap door.

We stand inside and watch through the window as the little bird comes to the cage. He bumps all around the outside until he finds the opening to enter and feast from the feeder. As soon as he sits down to breakfast, Fred closes the door with his remote gadget. He identifies the hummer species, weighs, measures, and places a minute identification band around an even tinier leg…all done for tracking purposes. Last, he places a splash of bright neon, bird-safe paint on top of its head. Each time, before he releases it, Fred encourages me to hold the winged jewel while he takes a picture.
(Photo of 2012-2013 Rufus species we hosted all winter)
It’s an awesome experience to see and hold these intriguing creatures close for a moment. I think of how God provides and cares for His tiniest creations, and the words of a song come to mind. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

What small wonder of God’s creation gives you hope?


H. Kirk Rainer said...

They are fascinating; for in south Alabama, there are two kinds: those fascinating, feathered acrobatic variety; and the fish finding variety calledd "humminbird".

Linda Robinson said...

Ha! H. Kirk, I'd be willing to bet you're an avid fisherman! Click on the pic to see my variety! :)

J.B. DiNizo said...

Wonderful! I love the quote at the end "His eye is on the sparrow and I know He's watching me."

Linda Robinson said...

It's one of my fav songs, J.B., and I know it's true!Hope you were able to see the pic.

TNeal said...

As a birder, I enjoyed reading about the catch-and-release (borrowing from Kirk's fisherman lingo) program that takes place in your own backyard. Hummers (the bird, not the vehicle)are glorious flying jewels--sights to behold and a thrill to hold. Thanks for sharing your pleasure.

Linda Robinson said...

TNeal, I love my birds. We have a bluebird box near our patio where two or three broods are raised every year, too. We get to watch them fledge. Awesome. I've even bought crickets to feed them after they fledge. I have another email account (MizhummerRob) in honor of my winged jewels, though. :-)