Ruby-Throated Messengers

Saturday afternoon I received a visitor in my sun porch, a feathered friend who can move at the speed of 60 miles per hour. To my delight, a ruby throated, green-chested hummingbird flew in the door of sun porch to try and procure a meal from a pot of geraniums perched on the TV.

It was such a thrill to see him go from bloom to bloom but then my excitement turned to pure horror. Instead of exiting the room through the open door he headed towards the warm sunshine of the enclosed windows. He proceeded to bump against the windows frantically, buzzing up and down until he was forced to rest on the window sill to take a breather. I was so terrified that he’s wear himself out and I would then have a dead hummingbird on my hands. So I quickly grabbed a broom, and tried to “sweep” him out of the porch as I had done to countless bats in my old farmhouse in Cannon Falls, MN. After what felt like an eternity – for both of us I’m sure – he suddenly flew straight towards the open door and out into freedom. I quickly closed the door all but a crack and breathed a sigh of relief.

But this wasn’t the first time that I’ve come face to face with a hummingbird. On several times I have been out in the back yard and one will come zooming up to me and buzz around in front of my face. They spend 5-10 seconds hovering in front of me, no more than a foot or so away. I always talk to them, bidding them good day and wondering what they want from me. It’s not like I’m wearing something red and flower like (they are especially attracted to red flowers for nectar). I wish I could speak the secret life of hummingbirds, they must have such interesting adventures.

While I’m sure my experience with the ruby-throated hummingbirds is not unusual – they are extremely common in the area – I do wonder about our feathered friends and how they have become so bold. Did the prior occupants of the house put out a bird feeder especially for them and their hovering visits are their way of letting me know that they haven’t forgotten that human often feed them? Or do they simply see my hair as something nice for building their next nest? Whatever may be the reason, I’m just glad that I didn’t end up with my own taxidermilogical specimen as a result of the geranium in my sun porch!

Symbolically, hummingbirds are supposed to be harbingers of joy, of the miracle of the moment, which seems perfectly logical to me, since I smile whenever I see these little creatures with their long beaks zooming around or perched overhead on wires. Maybe they really are just reminding me to love life, giving each moment its due as it unfolds.

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