-I always feel that late August is an odd time of year in my immediate universe and most certainly in the bird world. Weather-wise, it is still beastly hot with the rare respite of cooler evenings and mornings. This is further complicated by a hurricane season that can wrought change in each area in a mere matter of hours. Cogently, in my neighborhood the children are mostly absent during the day, having returned to school; similarly, most of the fledglings have moved on making their way to parts unknown, leaving fewer birds in the area than previously. Another phenomenon, which also makes August bittersweet is that my loudest group of birds, the Blue Jays, who are typically boisterous and hereto proudly display their brilliant blue feathers upon any perceived threat are in their second saga of molting. Molting, transforms these beautiful creatures to looking not only quite unfortunate but often downright ugly, as they tend to lose all or most of their head plumage. This transformation I think also affects their behavior too as they seem much quieter in general, than in previous months, even I daresay humble. So, August is a month of change: changes in the bird population, changes in our neighborhood, and changes in the weather.
-This August was a month of personal change for me too: two out-of-town trips, a severe gallbladder attack, and a personal struggle that I DID NOT expect, all while I was prepping for one that I DID expect. Though, like with all change, our loving God provides comforting constants all around us: like the rising/setting of the sun each day and rainbows after a storm on which we can focus. Of course, the most constant, constant is God himself; but, sometimes in my human frailty God must remind me of this fact.
-In my Myrtle Beach house, we have been trying to attract hummingbirds to our feeder for over a year, with zero success. In fact, across most of the southeast US, hummingbirds have been scarce in recent years. A phenomenon well reported by birders and bloggers who had written to me, written to other bird sites, and reported to Cornell. The only consistent explanation I was able to pinpoint for the lack of hummingbirds was that the various hurricanes/storms that were widespread in the southeast over the last few years may have affected the both the native and migratory populations of the hummingbirds. For example, at my feeder, until this month we only saw two hummingbirds make an appearance two times over the entire year. I am happy to report that this has now changed!
-While I was on a a recent trip away from home, the grown “children” excitedly reported back to me that they noticed one hummingbird come and later return several times in a single morning to our hummingbird feeder. Thankfully, after observing a couple of these visits, Abby sprang into "bird nerd," action. As we were low on nectar, she quickly whipped up some sugar water (see below) to refill the feeder; so, the birds would not lose interest, would continue to return, and entice more birds to us. It did and we were quite ecstatic.
-Still, God’s loving-kindness and constancy had not manifested itself completely, yet. The following morning, after the “home-front,” reported the first repeat hummingbird at our feeder in Myrtle Beach, I was drinking my morning coffee four hundred miles away, gazing blankly out over the city from my room; suddenly, out the window right in front of me appeared a hovering hummingbird (no feeder in site). I quietly called to my mother whom was also sitting in the room. Interestingly, not only did the hummingbird stay, but it continued to hover there in place long enough, close enough, and clear enough that Mother could see it despite her somewhat impaired vision. In a time of personal and natural change, after over a year of trying, not only did those back home see the previously elusive hummingbirds; but God in his sweet loving kindness allowed us to “share” this experience with them, miles away, by bringing us our own hummingbird. God sent two hummingbirds to hover outside two windows and connected two sets of people.
God is God.
-In the violent chaos of life and nature, during pounding rain, crashing waves, and in raucous unflyable wind; God is still God. Similarly, in the peaceful calm of a morning sunrise, slow trickle of a mountain stream, quiet call of a solitary bird, and gentle waft of a silent breeze; God is still God. During fear, worry, anger, shame, personal pain, physical pain and anguish; God is still God. During victory, praise, joy and peace; God is still God. In a silent moment of prayer and savory sip of a hot cup of morning coffee; God is still God. In hovering Hummingbirds and ugly Blue Jays, God is still God. Change is not only ordered by God but is controlled by God. He that created and ordained this magnificent world to operate so beautifully owes us nothing, but daily He gives us everything we need to endure both the chaos and the calm. Not only that, because of His mercy and love when we need more, He cares enough to send hovering hummingbirds to knit two sets of hearts together, and ultimately remind us that no detail is beyond His control.
What a brilliant, loving, merciful God we have!
Note: Feeder (we use a normal feeder attached to a window suction cup) see here.
Hummingbird Nectar, “Recipe”:
One cup sugar
Four cups water
Mix well so that sugar is completely dissolved! This is key!
• Hummingbirds are solitary and migratory. Their migration north appears to be times according to the appearance of certain flowers alone their route and they have been known to travel alone up to 500 miles alone.
• The name, hummingbird, comes from the humming noise their wings make as they beat so fast.
• Hummingbirds can fly fast either forward, or backward and are also capable of hovering.
• The average weight of a hummingbird is less than a nickel and CJ noticed that our hummingbirds are the size of his nine-year-old pinky finger. He is not wrong.
• Their tiny legs are only used for perching and moving sideways while perched. They don’t walk or hop. When they do perch it is often a perilous time for them, as they are made prey to several birds, insects (like praying mantis and orb web spider), and animals likes squirrels and chipmunks.
• Hummingbirds drink the nectar found in feeders by moving their tongue in and out about 13 times per second. They will also eat small insects and spiders especially the young birds to whom are fed insects for protein.
• Hummingbirds have one of the highest metabolic rates of any animal. They can consume up to double their body weight in a day.
• The average number of eggs laid by female hummingbirds is only two. These eggs have been found in nests smaller than a half dollar and compare in size to a jellybean or a coffee bean. The Ruby-Throated hummingbird female lays eggs about the size of peas.
• A flock of hummingbirds is called a bouquet, a glittering, a hover, a shimmer, or a tune.
• There are over 300 species of hummingbirds in North and South America.
ALL PICTURES ON THIS SITE WERE TAKEN ONLY BY ABBY, CJ OR ME. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE PHOTOS ON THE BIRDING FIELD TRIP PAGE, ALL PICTURES HAVE ALL BEEN TAKEN IN OUR URBAN BACKYARD/TREES, OR IN THE SKY AND TREES ABOVE OUR HOUSE/NEIGHBORHOOD FROM 2018 TO THE PRESENT. WE ARE USUALLY BIRDING EVERYDAY BUT ARE ALSO USUALLY BEHIND UPLOADING PICTURES.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE INFORMATION ABOUT A SPECIFIC PICTURE PLEASE EMAIL US. COGENTLY, IF WE HAVE ERRONEOUSLY MISLABELED A PICTURE PLEASE BRING IT TO OUR ATTENTION.