It's amazing to think that the two hummingbirds drinking from our feeder yesterday just flew thousands of miles from their winter homes in Mexico. What's even more amazing is that these two birds remembered one small hummingbird feeder, hanging under the eaves of a garage in one small back-yard in St. Louis.
That's right---they remembered! It's easy for me to imagine how a large bird like the Bald Eagle, the National Bird of the United States, can remember its summer and winter feeding grounds and the flight or migratory patterns between the two. Bald Eagles are large, strong and proud--they can do anything!
But to see two hummingbirds with a migratory flight weight doubled to only 6 grams who flew 22 hours non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico--then 20 hours a day from Texas to Missouri---specifically to come home to a feeder in my backyard--well it's an exciting and somehow deeply, moving experience. Small, strong, determined--I am strangely humbled by their presence.
My husband said "I think the Frenchman is back but I'm not sure who his little friend is." Yes, we give our hummingbirds names. Even though there are still a lot of unknowns about these tiny birds, if you watch closely and often, distinct personalities become discernible in each bird. Last year there was one flirtatious teenage girl hummingbird who loved to tease the boys.
May is usually the time when hummingbirds arrive in our area and they are hungry! Fortunately, the flowers are filling with nectar and the warm spring temperatures have encouraged the growth of lots of teeny insects which these carnivores love to eat. And hummingbird feeders, which are like energy drinks, are going up in backyards everywhere.
May is also the month in which we celebrate Memorial Day--a National day of remembrance for those in our Country who, whether large or small, were strong, proud, courageous and probably determined, as well---to remember that which is worthwhile in each of us and willing to fly great distances to preserve it.
We're fortunate that we don't have to "migrate" far to participate in Celebrations of Remembrance. Whether we visit a Farmer's Market for our weekly local food, watch a parade to honor the fallen, or gather in our backyards to share with family and friends, these are all ways to be like a hummingbird and to remember.