It was a different kind of morning. The air was cooler, breezier, overcast.
I took my cup of coffee and my camera outside, knowing it was the last day I would get to observe hummingbirds before leaving for Wisconsin. I first spotted The King, our resident male ruby-throated hummingbird, high on his perch, fluffed up and pensive. A short time later, after warning off a visitor, he dropped down to the holly as he is prone to do when it’s windy. He sat there quietly plumped up for a long while in the dim morning light.
A Carolina wren, who also likes this perch, displaced him for a short time, but since this busy songster can never be still, he was soon gone and The King returned. When I next observed, an hour or so later, the stillness was palpable. I can’t explain how I knew, but I knew. He was gone. I looked for him at his perches, watched for any movement among the limbs, waited for the faintest sound of chirping from above. Nothing. Then the parade of visitors came, among them the young and inexperienced, the late fledglings.
If I needed any confirmation, I had it. They approached the feeder chirping, awkwardly stabbing for a drink, lingering for many tries, more than I had observed before. No King pounced on them or chased them away.
Were it not for the heartening comedy put on by this new generation, I might have slumped into dispair. They reminded me of an infant first discovering his hands, eager to use them, but not quite skilled enough to know how. Much the same, they approached the feeder from every angle, awkwardly missing, backing up, trying again. Endearing, especially knowing all they must master before they, too, begin their southward journey.
Fall migration. It is that wonderful, stirring time of year. The King has departed. I so wish him a safe and speedy journey. I wish this for them all.
For the Love of It...
...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.