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Southern Oregon, hummingbird. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Hummingbird in winter. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Had breakfast with a hummingbird, and wondered, Does life get any better?

I’m grateful for every sighting.

We used to spy hummingbirds in winter, on long walks through the woods and by a hidden pond in Southern Oregon (see the Anna’s at left, puffed up against the cold).

It took awhile to put up a feeder at our new home, in the treetops in Washington, so we’ve been hummer-less.

There are no flowers at this height, so we puzzled whether our simple sugar-and-water solution would attract anything except bees (we’ve had some huge ones already).

Within hours, the Anna’s discovered the manmade nectar.  Timid sips at sunset, and they were gone.

We were both so grateful to have spied one, then three, then more hummingbirds in just a short visit.

I’m up early to study (an intense therapy course), so need the early morning quiet to concentrate.  I sit by the largest windows so that I can watch dawn creep across the sky.

This morning, before 6, I had company.

He drilled into the hummingbird feeder as if famished.  I stopped studying.

He darted away, then returned, repeatedly, as morning light unfolded slowly.  We’re having grey, overcast days here, so early light in Washington is more hope than reality.

But my companion was thirsty, and every time I went back to my text, he was back for another drink.

I stared at his extraordinarily long bill.  “It’s like a straw,” says the resident chef, who prepares the hummingbird nectar.

I paused in my studies to examine his every twitch, the way he tossed his throat back after a long sip, and the way his tail feathers trembled as he balanced on the all-too-flimsy feeder.  “His tail is like a rudder,” the resident scientist said.

Then the hummingbird paused.  He appeared to be watching me.  He pulled away from the feeder to fly vertically, edging closer to my window.

I have no idea if he could actually see me, but I had the sensation of being watched.  I tried not to move, for fear of disturbing him.

The Anna’s is far more skilled, beating those emerald wings about 50 times per second.

He flew back to the forest after seconds of this, as the light changed from charcoal to pearl.

My heart did little leaps of joy and gratitude.  Truly, does life get better than this?