Hummingbirds and a Honeysuckle Thief

Hummingbird May 4

At last! Hummingbirds!

Hummingbird May 4

Not a lot of hummingbirds, yet, but enough to attempt a few photos as they feed in the honeysuckle.

Yard May 3

The honeysuckle has bloomed in such profusion that I’ve been blissfully planning a long, bright summer filled with never-ending streams of hummingbirds. I should know better, by now, than to make such plans. The yard is not a blank page, waiting for me to write its future. There are always surprises, always factors I cannot control.

Honeysuckle May 10

About three days ago, the honeysuckle’s flowers began falling, sometimes before they opened. Many of the blooms appeared to have been cut at the base.

The weather has not been stormy enough to account for such damage, and I can’t find any caterpillars to blame. So I started checking periodically, watching from the kitchen window in hopes of solving the mystery. Yesterday, I caught the thief in action.

Finch May 9 3s

This little house finch was not alone. His mate was with him, and a very hungry fledgling.

Unlike hummingbirds, house finches’ beaks are not designed for sipping nectar. So they nipped off the blooms, drank the nectar from the broken end, and left a pile of empty flowers on the ground beneath them.

Honeysuckle May 10

The house finches have not returned today. Why should they? There’s nothing left to tempt them. But I suspect they’ll remember their feast, when the next wave of honeysuckle grows heavy with nectar…

Finch May 9


Between Seasons

I had hoped spring would chase winter’s gloom into memory, but it hasn’t yet. Instead there are all these photos of hunger and snow, dating back to October.

Warbler Oct 28

Warbler Jan 15

Cedar Waxwing Jan 15

Tufted Titmouse Jan 29

Squirrel Jan 16

Squirrel Jan 16

Squirrel Jan 29

Dove and Finch Jan 29

Snow Jan 29

Snow Jan 29

Woodpecker Jan 29

House Finch Jan 29

Along with hunger and snow, this winter brought weeks of numbing cold.

Doves Jan 29

Cardinal Jan 29

Squirrel Jan 16

I was glad I had left the bird houses hanging because I saw chickadees retreating into them at nightfall.

Chickadee Dec 30

It’s not that winter was completely cheerless. The yard had a few winter blooms, and there were certainly days of sunshine.

Honeysuckle Jan 1

Paperwhites Jan 2

Warbler Oct 29

But I’m ready for spring. Real spring, with hours on end of warmth and nest building and bird song.

Squirrel Jan 15

I can’t be the only one who is fretful and impatient. Maybe that’s why it seems as if spring is embarrassed to be arriving so late. Instead of rushing in with thunder and rain-scented gusts, spring is edging into the yard like a guilty ticket holder who overslept and missed the opening scene. Bees are sluggish, the irises and pear tree bloomed while I wasn’t looking, and the house stays chilly despite bright sunshine and open windows.

Bee March

Irises April 5

Pear Tree April 5

I suppose I’ll be complaining about the heat, before too long, and wishing for a cool draft in the house. Because summer always follows, and fall after it. And then there will come a day, sometime in early September, when I will wish for winter. But for now all of my wishes are focused on spring.