From the moment last year when I hung my hummingbird feeder outside my kitchen window – and I mean this literally – I’ve had a steady stream of snackers at the buffet. It was as if the local hummers had been waiting on the power lines all their lives for me to hang the scarlet-hued dinner table. I had no sooner hooked it and stepped back inside my kitchen (wondering how many days it would take them to find it), when several swooped in to drink, before I’d closed the sliding door behind me.
It has amazed me how quickly the birds have claimed ownership of the feeder – my feeder – dogfighting over my balcony for sipping rights, chastising each other in the sweetest sounding insults you’re likely to hear, and chasing newbies away with raw rudeness. The feeder has six flower-like sipping stations – plenty of room for several to snack at once but they hate to share.
The prettiest one of the bunch, a redheaded grump who simply cannnot tolerate anyone else at the water hole – even when he or she is clearly sated – will perch on the power line a few feet from where the nectar hangs and attack any would-be eaters with all the arrogance of a golddigger who’s found the motherlode and won’t share it with his pickmates.
They haven’t a clue that I am the one who keeps it filled, who buys the nectar concentrate at $4 a pop because I care about their nutritional needs, who cleans it out when the ants discover it, who notices when it’s getting down to the dregs and needs refilled.
I can’t help but wonder if there’s a little object lesson here for me- I wonder how often I view my provisions as something I’ve hacked out of the earth on my own when really it shows up everday as a gift from someone else.
And I am supposed to share. . . .