Yesterday I was writing at the sunny little table on my deck, surrounded by grape vines mixed with crocosmia (working from home is one of the joys and terrors of the writing life–it’s pleasant, but distraction abounds…). An Anna’s hummingbird kept buzzing close to my head, then flying a few feet away to feed from the crocosmia. I plucked a sprig of the flower and put it behind my ear, and for the rest of the morning the hummingbird visited repeatedly–the breeze from her loud thrumming wings rippled through my hair and once her tiny wing feathers actually brushed my cheek. So uplifting and magical!
Occasionally she would hover a few inches away, and look me in the eye. I have seen this behavior in so many wild animals, both birds and mammals. It is our movement that first alerts a wild animal to our presence and inspires caution, then if we are still for some time and the animal decides to stay around, it will check us out by looking into our eyes–I imagine them to be sizing us up, just as we are doing when we look another human in the eye.
Try it yourself if you have hummingbirds in your yard or park. Tuck a stem of red crocosmia, or fuschia, or hotlips salvia, or scarlet runner blossom (…) behind your ear, sit quietly with a book, and see what happens. Heighten the attraction by wearing a red shirt. There are so many small ways to cultivate intimacy with “everyday nature.”
For more, see my earlier post on hummingbirds and homegrown hummingbird feeders.