The Farmhouse Hummingbird

The Farmhouse Hummingbird. Farmhouse38.com

This post is a little different for me….so if you’d rather not hear me rambling like a buffoon about a hummingbird, I warn you to turn away–turn away quickly!!

Let the pointless gushing commence.

All right–there is a longish back story to this, so bear with me here.

A good portion of my day is spent (hard at work, I swear) at my computer.  Command central is a little nook carved out of one end of my kitchen.  My desk is pushed up against a large window, so as I work, I am looking out said window into a thicket of shrubbery (which is great, because if those green things weren’t there, I’d be staring into my neighbors’ bedroom window, which, I think we can all agree, is rather awkward).

The Farmhouse Hummingbird. Farmhouse38.comTo my immediate right is a set of double french doors that lead out onto our deck and to my immediate left is the open kitchen-dining-great room–and all the way down at the front of that great room, on this same wall is another french door leading out onto our driveway.

I am in the habit of leaving the driveway door open quite a bit for the dogs to come in and out as they please (though this has become a problem recently, as the chickens have also discovered and entitled themselves to this privilege).  Many times, I also leave the door next to me open, as well, to get a nice cross-breeze action, but if it’s a little too chilly, I keep that one closed.  One morning last spring, I was doing just this:  working at my computer, with the door to the deck closed, and the one to the driveway open.  All of a sudden, I hear the tell-tale hummingbird air-strumming, and look up in time to see that a little hummingbird has zipped through the driveway door, streaked through the kitchen, and just as I realize what is about to happen–PLINK!–it runs into the closed deck door.  But fortunately the little hummybird was unharmed and buzzing at the windowpanes of the french door like an angry bumblebee, trying desperately to get outside.  So, carefully, I reached over and opened the door–problem solved, right?  Nope.   The little frantic thing just kept buzzing at the backside of the door and couldn’t figure out to fly around it.  Finally, it perched on one of the dividers, and sat there, exhausted, it’s little chest heaving.

The Farmhouse Hummingbird. Farmhouse38.com

Of course, in my panic to help the bird, I didn’t stop to take a photo. But this was where the tiny one was stuck, perched on one of the window dividers.

Tentatively, I reached towards the bird, and when it didn’t fly away, I very carefully scooped it into the palm of my hand and stepped out onto the deck–pausing for a moment to marvel at the fact that I was actually holding a hummingbird in the palm of my hand.  I opened my hand, and the bird sat for a moment, blinking at me.  We had a little moment, the hummingbird and I.  I was able to look her over very carefully–see her gorgeous colors winking in the sun.  Wish I could have gotten photos!  And then, in an instant, she was zipping away into the garden.  I say ‘she’, because I certainly hit the research after this interaction.  It seems to me that she is either a Rufous or an Allen’s Hummingbird, either a juvenile or a female, by her coloring.  But I’m going with ‘she’, because that’s just what I’m going with.

Immediately (starting later that very same day), I began to notice that every time I was in the yard, there was a certain hummingbird (because we always have quite a few around here) that would come and hover close to my head–which is something that had never happened to me before in the garden.  When I could get a good glimpse, yes, I was certain it was the very same little hummingbird (although in my research, this type of behavior is sometimes exhibited by territorial males when a person is in their ‘space’).  But, nonetheless, this little bird was very fascinated with me, whatever the reason may be.  I wish I could describe better the experience of being inspected by a hummingbird: there you are, minding your business, and suddenly it is like a pressure change in your ear that you kind of notice, but don’t notice, and then all at once, you’re hearing the hum of the wings, and feeling the movement of the air, and then you look up, and there is this beautiful little creature, right in front of your face.  Amazing.  Not once has this, or any of these birds territorially attacked me, and yet, here is this little one, coming in for a closer look.The farmhouse hummingbird. Farmhouse38.com

Fast forward to the present.  I work at my computer every morning, and then periodically throughout the day.  Starting at six am, every single morning, I look up and I see this:

The farmhouse hummingbird. Farmhouse38.com

This photo makes it look farther away–in reality, the bird is about 3 feet from where I sit.

The farmhouse hummingbird. Farmhouse38.comI know it’s probably not, but I swear this is the same bird.  She flits in and sits on this exact branch every few minutes.  She watches me as I move around, but does not startle.  She preens and fluffs and stretches her wings and rests, and it is the cutest dang thing in the whole world.The farmhouse hummingbird. Farmhouse38.com

The farmhouse hummingbird. Farmhouse38.com

Further research has revealed that this behavior (returning to the same covered, resting spot) is indicative of a female bird, as well.  The males tend to rest on a branch or a power line out in the open (which I see around here all the time) while the females tend to pick a covered, protected resting spot.  I’m hoping that if it is, indeed, a she, that she builds her nest here where I can see it.  That would make my whole year.

I realize that I have romanticized this situation a wee bit–I’m sure that all of these incidences are not actually the same bird.  I get it.  But I like to secretly think it is.

I would love to hear from anyone who has a bit of hummingbird knowledge!  Meanwhile, I’ll just be here, at my computer, smiling at my little recurring office visitor like a loon.The farmhouse hummingbird. Farmhouse38.com

Comments

  1. Love this…I have a pair of cardinals who do the same thing. They also slam themselves into the window and squawk. They are telling me about their day, right?
    Your little bird is adorable…hope she/they stay forever!

  2. Oh I love your story! I won’t claim to know a lot about them, but both my grandma and I have families of hummingbirds at our houses that seem to have regular habits. They come back at the same time every spring and check the same spot where I hang the feeders or hummingbird friendly hanging baskets. I have a mating pair that has been around for several generations and they seem to teach their routine to their babies. When I am on the porch they will come in the little shady alcove and rest in the cool shade of the ash tree above the porch. They aren’t bothered and let my daughter and I come and go without a care. They are a little more weary about the guys because they make more noise. The juveniles seem curious and dart around while the male is pretty bold about coming in to feed. The female usually waits until I go in the kitchen but I can see her out the window and she will approach if we sit very still in the chairs on the porch. I think they are amazing and I feel that sort of “kinship” with that pair. My grandma has her feeder right by her kitchen window and she gets a ton of them and the males will dive-bomb her when she works in the garden on that side of the house.

  3. Love this story!!

  4. I think we have all been touched by these magical little creatures at some point. When I water the bank out back with a regular hose they come and bathe in the spray of the hose…so cute. And we did have a nest and it is the tiniest and tidiest thing you have ever seen so I hope she builds one for you. She obviously trusts you and is thanking you for your kindness. Thanks for sharing a nice story in a sometimes dark world.

    • Oh, thank you for such nice words! They are such clever little buggers, aren’t they? I just love having them in the garden (and at my window!). Thanks for commenting. :-)

  5. Dear K-
    Perhaps that flower behind your ear attracts your little friend when you are outdoors! What an honor bestowed on you by that she-hummer. She knows what a benevolent woman you are, and what good energy she continues to bring to your work-view!

  6. I love hummingbirds! What a great story. They are the neatest little creatures. I love to sit on my back porch and watch the hummingbirds visit my feeder on the porch. One of the simple joys of my summertime. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. I love this story. She knows you helped her! I have 2 Carolina chickadees who watch me fill the feeders and chirp to tell everyone else what’s happening. They are smart little guys!

    • LOVE IT! So adorable….I’ve been thinking about putting some bird feeders out, but I think it may just encourage and strengthen the squirrel army that is being amassed in my back garden….weighing my options…..

  8. In east and central Texas we get a lot of the green and black hummingbirds which aren’t nearly as pretty as your little lady, but they are still adorable. As boring as chickadees may be to most bird-watchers, I think they are my favorite because they are always so perky, hyper, and “busy”. I’m also glad to see Jennifer’s comment; I’m not the only one!

    • I looooove chickadees! My mom’s got them up in the local mountains here, and they seriously are ridiculously cute! Not boring at all–one of my favorites!! :-)

  9. Such a sweet story…sweeter than mine. One beautiful evening, I was sitting on my back porch reading and soaking in the warm summer rays, when suddenly a hummingbird zipped right in front of my face. Seriously…thought I was about to lose an eye. Ha! Then, he just went on his merry way and I just continued on with my reading. The end. :-)

    • Hahahah! That’s a great one!!! I know–those beaks are NO JOKE–whenever one of them is hovering around my head in the garden, I always have that thought in the back of my brain! :-) Thanks for sharing!

  10. I too have got to hold one of these amazing birds in my hand. Only my experience was with it flying into our parked car and getting stuck trying to fly through our winsheild. I just reached in and snatched it up, my mohter in law tried getting a photo but it didn’t turn out so well. It was an amzing experience none the less. I always wonder how many people can say they have held a hummingbird?

  11. Christa says:

    I am in Oregon and we have hummers that stay over the winter and seasonal visitors. I have three that visit their feeder every day, and dive bomb my kitchen window if there feeder is empty! They do have regular routines and places and often the mothers teach their babies about all the good spots. I think they like company as long as they feel safe. So special that she visits you every morning!!

    • Oh, that is awesome! I really need to put a feeder out. Up until now, I’ve just kind of tended to lean towards planting lots of stuff in the yard that they like–they don’t seem to be complaining! But I’m thinking it would be cool to hang a feeder just outside this window where it is easy to reach and maintain. :-)

  12. That story warms the heart, Kate! Hummingbirds have special powers to slow you down and make you appreciate the world around you. We get the migrating masses every year, but none so astounding as during the Texas drought of 2011. I could hardly keep up feeding them with so few flowers in bloom. (http://wp.me/p28k6D-8F)

    I’ve had the pleasure of handling these precious little beauties. Sometimes they wind up in my garage and don’t seem to know how to get out. On a couple of occasions, I was able to walk right up him, perch him on my finger, and walk him out — like we’d done that waltz before! Precious little creatures. You should feel honored to have one to window watch.

    Thank you for sharing your story and beautiful photos.

  13. Love your hummer story!! I tend to lean to red toenail polish in the summer and have had my toes “inspected” several times while resting on a chaise in the garden surrounded by lovely flowers and the even more lovely “visitors”. Here’s hoping you’ll be blessed with her nest!! :)

  14. I have concluded that of course it is the same hummy that you rescued and she has adopted you as her new best friend. She has good taste!
    Oh! I love your work space, the colored markers are enough to draw me in and make me want to be creative! :)

  15. So sweet! I love hummingbirds- we even have a bush in the back that is supposed to attract them. I’m sure she is ‘your’ bird!

  16. We love birds and have had as many as 12 Love Birds at one time… My DH is a little nutty about keeping every hatchling because we have had bad experiences placing them in what we thought were good homes after extensive instructions on their care and the dangers that face them in the home. (Over time, I have noticed that you have a larger breed of bird at your farm house, as well.)

    The males seem to have survived the longest so no more additions to the flock!! We are now down to one Love Bird and one Cockatiel. Both are at least 15 years old but that is old for a Love Bird and just middle-age for the other. Livie is at the point where he can’t fly even short distances any more and we are watching him slowly decline.

    He used to fly from his cage top to my husband as he was sleeping and would snuggle in DH’s neck for awhile. Then he would decide it was time for DH to get up and start giving him little pecks on the neck ’til he would give up and get out of bed. Most effective alarm clock we’ve ever had!! Now he has a hard time pulling himself up on top near the heat lamp with his beak. Poor little fellow…. DH helps him up in the morning and the first stop when arriving home is to check on Livie and snuggle him in the neck of his shirt where the bird loves to be until he figures it is bedtime. Then he will get wiggly and bite which means it is way past dark now so put me to bed!!

    As with many critters, a sick bird is a danger to the rest of the “flock” and the Cockatiel who has always been Livie’s companion has begun pecking at him so we have to keep them apart. They each have huge cages and have always climbed back and forth between them and shared the toys and heat light on top of the cage. Now we have to let them out one at a time.

    At any rate, my husband is still having guilt issues about not staying home when our last Love Bird was failing and the little guy died while DH was at work. He hates it that the bird died alone rather than being snuggled in our hands at the last as had happened with all the others that passed after we had been told by the vet that they couldn’t be helped and would go soon.

    DH says everything he learned about marriage he learned from the birds. They can be just sitting peacefully next to one another and suddenly the female will reach over and give the mail a mean peck for apparently no reason. I don’t see the connection….

    The females will also move things around in the cage for apparently no reason and bully the males into helping them. Again, not sure of the connection…. (bwahahahaha!)

    I believe your hummingbird has adopted you!! It seems surprising because hummingbirds are supposed to be the most territorial and aggressive breed of birds. I guess she has made you her territory. Whoa be to anyone who might try to interfere!!

    When I was a child, I thought Snow White was so lucky that the little critters and birds would come to her. It was always a dream of mine to have a little bird sit on my hand. I never realized it could go so far that the little bird actually cared for me; wanting to ride around on my shoulder and give me little kisses and fall asleep in my hand while watching TV. Having our pet birds has been a dream come true but we now feel that we would never want to keep them caged again rather that out in the wild so no new birds will be added to our little flock. At our ages, of course, the Cockatiel could outlive us!! Thankfully, we have family members who would step in if that should occur.

    Thank you for sharing your story today.

    • Awww….so sweet. Thanks for sharing your stories, too, Charlotte. I love birds, and always have, and sometimes I get a little insecure about flying my ‘crazy bird lady’ flag very high–but I seriously love them (I think it’s becoming painfully obvious, anyway, heheeh!). I have always, always, always wanted lovebirds, I just think they are the sweetest little things. I’ll have them. Mark my words. :-)

  17. Awww so cute

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