For years now, my husband and I have engaged in futile efforts to attract a humming- bird (or in fantasies) hummingbirds to the yard. There are trees around and every year I try to plant flowers that will attract the illusive little birds. This season it was some scarlet runner beans. They climbed up the metal trellis I put behind them and dutifully produced the red flowers. No hummingbirds.
We have had crows, magpies, and blue jays. They are large enough to escape the small hawks which have taken up residence in our neighbourhood. There were few songbirds because- hawks. They might prey on hummingbirds, we theorized. Despite years of failure, a feeder with a sugar solution (and no red dye to harm anything that showed up) was hung. It’s been a year for the wasps and they had no trouble feeding on the artificial nectar.
I gave up but Gary kept watching and hallelujah one morning, he saw an elusive visitor. He tried not to be disappointed because it was a lone, small hummingbird, a female. It was single and in fragile health he thought. Our hummingbird didn’t hover, but sat to feed. It wasn’t much bigger than the wasps but she wasn’t intimidated by them.
After observing her several times (me, even a couple), and consulting the “bird book” and Mr. Google, we determined that our little green bird was indeed, a female Calliope hummingbird. And here she is. I wish I could say the photo was mine but it isn’t. She is very dainty and soon will be headed south.
Again, thanks to google, I can tell you that she is, weighing about as much as a ping-pong ball, the smallest, long-distance migratory bird in the world. Calliope humming-birds winter in Mexico and then in spring fly up the Pacific Coast. Our little girl is out of her range since we are farther east than this hummingbird species is usually found; Calliope hummingbirds are more likely to summer in BC. Soon she will make her way back along the Rockies to Mexico, a round-trip of 5,000 miles.
Calliopes are feisty little birds and have been seen chasing red-tail hawks. We will be looking anxiously next spring for the return of our little hummingbird. Surely she is not an anomaly; surely she will bring a mate and maybe friends.