For most of this year, I’ve been writing next to windows overlooking a forest.
I’ve been grateful for the green.
I’ve been ecstatic, most mornings this fall, to be greeted with a blast of gold from all the broadleaf maples towering over our apartment.
And then the winds came, and in one week that I was away, most of the leaves disappeared.
I returned home to moss-shrouded tree skeletons, so pathetic in the cold wind and Portland gloom, I imagine them shivering.
But our hummingbirds have stayed loyal. (We call them ours because we put up a feeder in spring, and drew hummers when our neighbors said they had not seen any in the ‘hood.)
No matter how cold or dark or wet, our little ruby-and-emerald beauties are steadfast.
They’re not battling so much as in summer, when their territorial antics gave us hours of Matrix-style entertainment — tiny wings batting a million miles a minute, forward, backward, then seemingly invisible in flight as they divebombed rivals.
They were waiting.
They were waiting for us to refill the feeder.
It still had lots of nectar, but the days had turned chilly. Hadi decided yesterday we should be kind and brew a new batch of sugar water for our guests.
He served the nectar at room temperature.
No sooner had he refilled the thing, one saucy hummer was at the feeder, sipping long and — for him — slowly.
Then another. Then another.
No one was fighting. All were sharing.
Hmmm … after a summer of fighting, they seem to have settled into a feeding pattern of common good.
How do I know?
Because at 9 p.m., I could still see two hummingbirds taking turns at the feeder next to our windows.
We have tried to take a good close-up of our tiny neighbors, but even stepping quietly on the deck is alarming, and they usually dart away.
Same with shooting through the windows. Our shadows seem to disturb them.
So these are the only shots we managed all year.
I’m grateful they’re not as good as we wanted them to be.
All photos by Hadi Dadashian. Click on each photo to enlarge, and see our hummingbirds close to full size.