Friday, November 27, 2009

Changing Seasons

Most folks look to the leaves for the passage from summer to fall.  I look to the birds.

The last group of hummingbirds flew out the first week of November.  I left a feeder up a few weeks longer, just in case, but after a mass sugar drunk of bees, from which two didn't recover and the rest had what must have a been a helluva hangover, because it took them all day to climb out of the feeder ports and fly away, we brought the feeders in for the winter.  I was reluctant but the bees were gorging to harmful excess and I don't want to contribute to their demise.

Otherwise, I'd leave a feeder up for late hummingbirds.  Last year a Rufous hummingbird spent a few weeks with us in December.  Rufous hummers don't live in the Texas Hill Country and theoretically don't migrate through.  But we've had a stray every fall-winter since we moved here.  We react as if we're new parents--notices to the neighbors and all that.  I put on extra coffee in case anyone wants to come down and watch the flying-orange show.   
     Rufous hummingbird photo courtesy of Gary Woodburn's Flikr photo-stream

As one species departs, others arrive.  A winter flock of  Chipping sparrows has started trickling in.  There are about about fifty now and more will arrive.  By mid-winter, we'll see a hundred 'regulars' and I'll hum as I throw out seed in the mornings. An ubiquity of sparrows.

Until we moved to the Hill Country, we knew one species of sparrow by sight.  All others were LBJs, Little Brown Jobs.  Now we know nine, because they're our neighbors, living markers of time and season.


  1. We ate our Thanksgiving dinner outside yesterday and were amazed to see that bees would come and sit on pieces of turkey, slice off tiny bits and fly away with them. Turkey? Bees? Really? Yes. We learn something new every day about the other creatures we live with.

  2. This was a great piece of the wild wide world of the wonderful .
    In this weekend of thanksgiving , I am grateful for getting to know you, this space with your great photos and insightful way of sharing your appreciation of the living.

  3. Your inebriated bee story reminds me of when my friend called to tell me that his birds were getting tipsy after drinking the nectar that had slightly fermented in his feeder. I immediately scolded him and told him he was harming the birds. I don't know if rotten nectar turns to wine, but I make sure my hummingbird feeders are fresh from now on. I wouldn't want to be responsible for the birds getting intoxicated then passing out on a low laying branch where they would meet their early demise via the neighbor's cat! LOL

    Thanks for sharing! I've been enjoying your beautiful pics on Flickr!! Keep them comin'!!


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