Saturday, September 4, 2010

On Tiny Wing

Magnet # 334: Colorado Hummingbird with Flowers

Material: Rubber

Purchased By: Dad

As today is the first Saturday in September, we've officially reached National Hummingbird Day. I'm not sure just how this one came to be, but I guess that doesn't really matter. What does matter is getting out and trying to catch a glimpse of one of the most adorable of all flying creatures - the hummingbird!

I love hummingbirds - they are, without a doubt, my favorite kind of bird! First of all, they are the smallest of any kind of bird species, which makes them pretty cute. Also, they move like no other birds - their little wings can flap up to 90 times a second, and it almost makes them look like they're flying. They can hover in place and they're the only kind of bird that can actually fly backwards, which is really fun to watch. Plus, they just fly so darn fast, they can look like tiny streaks in the sky. Finally, I just love the way hummingbirds look. They have a very streamlined little body with their long, slim beak that helps them get nectar from flowers that, again, makes them look rather different from other birds. And they can have so many delightful, somewhat iridescent, colors. From blue to green to pink to yellow to red and even my favorite, purple, there's just about no bright color you can't find one at least one variety of hummingbird. The one featured on this magnet is definitely a great example of just how colorful the little creatures can be. It's a ruby-throated hummingbird, perhaps the best known species of all. Truly, there is no other type of bird that is anything like the hummingbird. They're almost like a cross between a bird and a fairy. Given my appreciation for them, it's almost hard for me to believe that only one state has dubbed the hummingbird its official bird - Colorado. And while I've spent almost no time there, I have learned that it's a pretty appropriate choice. A friend of mine has a brother who lives there and she told me that he has lots of hummingbirds visit his home and that they'll even land on his arm or head and he can pet them. How cool is that! Growing up in Alabama, my folks would put up a hummingbird feeder and I would love to watch them in our backyard. Sometimes an aggressive one would fly up, a chase between them would ensue, and the victor would come back for the sugar water. It was so funny to see two such tiny creatures fighting like that. But I've never had a close encounter like my friend's brother, even though I would love that. It's almost worth a trip to Colorado for that alone. Or maybe I should try putting up my own feeder here in Savannah to try and see some hummingbirds here. It's been awhile since I've watched any and I'd really like to again.

If you're like me, and get a kick out of watching hummingbirds, you might want to put up a feeder for them yourself. You can buy a special hummingbird feeder with bright colors and small slots at just about any bird store or home and garden store. The best liquid to put in it is usually about 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups of water. Be sure to boil the mixture and let it cool to avoid the growth of bacteria. And be warned - the feeders have been known to attract other varieties of birds, as well as ants and wasps! Still, if you want your home to be visited by these adorable birds, this is probably the best way to encourage them to fly by. These birds can easily brighten up your day, and today is a nice excuse to try to catch a glimpse of them, or encourage future visits from them.

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