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The Daily Bucket: Rubies in the Sky with Diamonds, and Gold amid the tannin-stained Waters

3 min read

The hummingbirds dash around my back yard, as hard to track as a feathered 3-card monte game; are there 2 or 3 or 4 hummers?

Any hummer that sits in our Bartlett pear tree is automatically named Bart.  It fights any other hummer using any one of five feeders below in corners of our yard.  Bart also has high ground in a maple. 

The other hummers seem to get along, if not for Bart.  They skulk around in the apple tree and the neighbor’s maple, waiting for Bart to get distracted, so they can dash to a feeder.

I put out a new feeder, just for the drama.  The hummers took turns following me around.  I held it at arm’s length, hoping for some cute perching, but no.  Bart did jump on it a few seconds after I placed it in the Rhodys.  I was worried they couldn’t find it. Ha.

They let me get close in a few times and take pictures, in return.  

They prove impossible to ID. They turn their heads like quick change artists and switch colors, then disappear, to reappear in a distant tree without being anywhere in between, a feathered quantum physics equation.

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Brown Throat liked hearing my wee voice. “Oh you’re such a pretty fella, look I brought a quart of sugar water.”

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But suddenly he wasn’t Brown Throat anymore, he’s Ruby Head, as he turns. I’m dazzled. And he mackerel breast now appears studded with diamonds.

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The wind gusts as he slips into a rift between dimensions, that leads to another feeder. Diamonds fall from the rift but the wee people snatch them before I can get up.

Another hummer–maybe– lurks in the dwarf apple beneath the lone feeder, waiting for Bart to look away.

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 I’m cooing, “What a pretty dark throat you have, pretty bird.”

My smooth talking did not impress this hummer, though.

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Then the hummer made a quarter turn and its colors flashed. “Excuse me, my name is Ruby Crown!”
If it had made another half-turn, would it have morphed into Ruby Head?

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And the next hummer gave me the cold shoulder hover.

I was upset the hummers were playing tricks on me, so I turned to the heron feeders, erm, I meant the goldfish ponds, for more colors.

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Here are mixtures of gold and black and white, of goldfish and minnows, in the tannin-stained waters.  The white minnows are outgrowing their 2 inch maximum. It’s a flash of colors during December, but they are expecting food.

Billy Heron, where are you?  There are too many fish here for the February frog migrations. They’ll eat all the frog eggs.

The little birds often choose to drink from this pond, even with  waterfilled dishes and  pots and the shallow creek in the mitigation area available.

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And suddenly that cruddy suet became a popular feeder, with great Yelp reviews. I’d thought it was a flock of juncoes, but looking at the pic, I don’t see any juncoes.

I am foiled by the winter plumage I’m afraid. Wrens? I see a little yellow on their undersides. Nuthatches?
This is a personal record for suet cage attendance: 11.

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