It is now the fall of the year and my Hummingbirds are leaving for their annual migration. There are only a few visiting my feeders today. In the past months while they have been frantically feeding for their journey across the Gulf of Mexico there has been a constant buzzing and chirping surrounding our screened porch. We have had as many as 12-15 tiny birds challenging each other to get through at the feeder so they could be next.
It is such a pleasure and an honor to have these tiny visitors choose my garden flowers and feeders. I am not sure that they recognize me as the one who is cooking their sugar water and cleaning their feeders but I think they do. I wish I could recognize the individual birds because I feel that the same birds have stayed close by all summer. When I am sitting on the porch or standing in my kitchen window looking out several of them will hover just a few feet away from the screen or glass and watch at me. Then fly away and return shortly for another sip and another look.
I also wonder if any of my tiny birds are repeat visitors from summers past. I wonder how many survive the long trip across the Gulf, how many get to their destination and how many will return for another summer to feed in my garden and expect to find the sugar water treat in my feeders. I wonder how they know when it is time to begin their trip because in the past week all but a few have disappeared, apparently getting the call to depart earlier then the stragglers that still remain with me.
I have stopped feeding my song birds because the small ones who grow dependent on the feeder will not migrate. If the feeder becomes empty during the winter the birds can freeze to death without their food source because their natural food is not available in the winter. According to what I read the Hummingbirds do not become dependent on the feeders and will leave when nature tells them it is time to go.
I am hoping all my little birds get to where their internal guidance systems tell them to go and I am planning to see all of them again in the spring. I am already looking for new plants for next year’s spring planting that will provide more flowers and seeds than we had this year.
Have a safe journey my tiny friends. I will see you again in the spring.