Embers from the Fire
A weekly blog by Deacon Dan Wagnitz for the Quad Parish Community
Little Flights, Quiet Flights – 9/25/2020
The last two weeks the big flights, the loud flights have been gathering – building in size and volume. In the hour between predawn and full early morning sunshine the local marsh is filled with the piercing calls of sand hill cranes the incessant honking of Canadian geese, and the chatter of mallards. The numbers of birds increase each day. The tipping point won’t be reached until late October. Amidst all this growing sense of palpable urgency a much quieter, more easily unnoticed flight is also on the
Way back in May when the weather finally decided to begin warming Michelle and I discussed whether or not we should put out the hummingbird feeder. That evening it was nice enough to dine on the patio (as long as you wore a sweatshirt). During the meal we were buzzed by two hummingbirds. It was as if they had heard our earlier conversation and they were most interested in confirming the need to feed.
Needless to say, Michelle filled up the feeder before we even cleared the supper dishes and it took all of about 45 seconds for the first hummer to take a taste. For four to six weeks there was steady use of the feeder, sometimes we saw five or six hummers buzzing around the feeder, dipping and diving and chasing each other around the yard. We were refilling the feeder a couple of times each week. It was really quite an airshow.
Then in the heart of summer, the overlap of July and August, the feeder stayed full. We hardly saw a hummer at all and the ones we did see were checking out the flowers and pretty much ignoring the feeder. As August creeped toward September, we discussed taking the feeder down and putting it away until next May. Then, just as in the spring, it was like the hummers heard our wondering and they decided the matter. Just like that hummers were constantly buzzing through the yard and attacking the feeder with gusto.
They are fueling up for the long flight south. You are never sure when it happens. It’s not like you see a flock of hummers flying in V formation. Just one day soon, whether the trigger is the declining hours of daylight or the cooling nights, they will be gone. It will be sudden. It will be quiet. But we will
notice. They will be missed.