I had seen hummingbird feeders hanging from trees and porch roofs in the Powell River Cranberry neighbourhood and thought what cute yard decorations they made. But it was during a cold snap in early January I actually caught a glimpse of the high speed creature departing my neighbour’s red glass pendant. Could they really exist and could we actually see them? This prompted a trip to my local Canadian Tire seasonal section. We came away with a small glass feeder (an investment of a mere nine dollars and change) and we then embarked on a humdinger of a little bird quest.

To be completely honest with you, my expectations were low. I thought any sighting was a rarity and there was a very slight chance we would actually see a hummingbird at our hummingbird feeder. And for the first couple weeks, my expectations were met. We saw no visitors, although we did freshen the syrup every week, just in case that mattered.

Suddenly it seemed, the mini hovercraft appeared. The Anna’s Hummingbird had discovered hummingbird1-webthe new front yard feeder. The Anna, named after the Duchess Anna Massèna of Rivoli, no less, does not migrate from our coastal environment. And Naturalists speculate that part of the reason they remain with us for the winter is the number of feeders, helping to sustain them when natural nectar is in short supply.

I was hooked. We saw both male and female Anna’s at the feeder, for split seconds. If you were not looking out at the right time, you missed them. It gave the term “fast food” a whole new meaning. The male is a beaut with a metallic red hood, the female is wearing a front button of red on her emerald green dress. Their occasional appearances kept us entertained for several weeks.

As we crept into March, our little lawn decoration gained more attention. Rufous was back in Guarding_Rufoustown. This variety of hummer does migrate, and probably spent the winter in Mexico… which seems like a long road trip for such a small wing span. Now the feeder is constantly busy. We call it Hummer TV. The Rufous is a small bird with big attitude, chasing away any other diners from the claimed syrup source. I now know why they are called hummingbirds. If you are close enough to hear them (and they take no notice of you in their quest for syrup) they make a mechanical humming noise not unlike The Golden Snitch in a Rufous_Mar30Harry Potter Quidditch game – perhaps the source of Ms. Rowling’s inspiration for the fast-moving game piece.

You might think that the viewing gets a little ho hum, oh, just another hummingbird, Anna’s and Rufous both. However, not yet. We are entranced. It is the best entertainment watching them hover, devour liquid, chase one another up into the trees, sit guarding in the nearby bush. Sometimes, they call a truce and share a table for two. I could not have hoped for this much fun for that original nine dollar investment.

And besides, the feeder does look nice on the front lawn.