Chasing Down the Muse: Close encounters with a hummer

September 23, 2010|Catharine Cooper

What can be more delightful than a close encounter with wildlife? We tend to spend so much time with our faces pressed against something electronic, that the chance moments when life forms in the natural world collide with our own are noteworthy.

And so it was this week, as a hummingbird decided to explore my bedroom. Well, not exactly decided; I'm pretty sure his entrance was accidental.

When I heard the frenzy of wings and the pound of small body against the wall, I hurried upstairs and stood face to face with the tiny bird that had perched just above the window well. His luminescent green feathers shimmered in the afternoon sun in stark contrast to the brushed aluminum frame. I opened the wide porch door and all the other windows to aid in his escape, but for the moment, he didn't move.


I climbed on top of the chair to be closer. His curled beak and dark eyes were only inches away. He held very still, yet the rise and fall of his breast feathers clearly revealed his angst at being unable to get through the wall. Could he read my mind? Did he understand that I was trying to help him?

"Tiny bird, sweet little friend, you need to fly lower."

He looked at me, then furiously did the opposite, flying higher, only to perch again on the upper ledge. Finally, I tossed a soft blanket over his head and gently directed him to the opening. Freed, he flew away like a true wild thing.

So why, I asked myself, did he come back within an hour? Drawn back upstairs by the telltale flutter of wings, there he sat in exactly the same location on upper part of the sill.

"Silly bird," I said to him, back on top my chair. "What is it that you want? Do you have something to say to me?"

Quite silently, he blinked several times before we repeated our routine. Soft blanket capture, window release.

His presence reminded me of the luck of other hummingbird encounters. The most recent was while sitting in my patio writing, sipping coffee from a bright floral cup. A hummingbird had been breakfasting on a red flowers close to my seat. His eye caught floral pattern in my hands and he zoomed right toward me. He hovered within inches of my face, wings whizzing, as he examined my cup from every angle, trying to figure out how to "get in" to the flowers.

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