People have been asking what exactly happened to Neu during the dramatic days in December and January when I stopped updating my blog. I am working on a post about that but it is still a bit raw for reliving and frankly I think we’ve all had enough of it for now; to quote the Dowager Duchess of Downton Abbey “An unlucky friend is tiresome enough; an unlucky acquaintance is intolerable” Not saying I agree with her but I did think it applicable and it made me laugh!
So here to lighten the mood are some photos of these truly glorious birds who regularly visit the feeders hung round our garden. They are mostly Swallow tailed hummingbirds, though we do get some Emerald glittering throated and one redish one which Neu managed to get a photo of on his phone but it’s not clear enough to use to identify it.
Individual Swallow tailed hummingbirds aggressively defend “their” feeders and we get to watch spectacular displays of flying skills. The birds energetically zip about all day, even going through the kitchen, from one open window to the next and their constant chatter is a delight to hear. As they go streaking past it puts me in mind of the cartoon the Wacky Races, with birds zooming about at top speed, ambushing each other, sending one-another into the fronds of the coconut trees where there follows much frantic twittering with the battering of wings setting the fronds all a clatter. We have even seen one knock another other out of the air in its determination to stop it getting to the feeder.
A few days ago our young cat who is a voracious hunter of butterflies, actually managed to catch an emerald glittering throated, much to my surprise, possibly to the cat’s and no doubt to the bird’s. The cat, as cats do, wanted to play with it. She dropped it on the floor where it lay as if dead while she gently batted it. Neu managed to get to it and picked it up, it lay in his hand trembling, he feared the worst but then in the blink of an eye whoosh and it was gone, tweeting out as it shot off, as if teasing the cat with its escape.
Watching the birds on a daily basis, it is easy to understand why they are symbols of strength, love, joy and healing. Their small bodies belie a huge strength, some species migrate over great distances. One Rufus hummingbird was tagged in Florida and re captured over 3500 miles away in Alaska (which is not a place that immediately springs to mind when I think of hummingbirds either). They show us that we are more than our outside appearance, that we have inner strengths on which we can draw and are capable of far more than may be obvious at first sight.
Hummingbirds are well known for their incredible control of their flying abilities, coming to a complete stop from full speed, flying upside down, sideways or making incredibly tight turns and of course they are famous for hovering in one point. These are a strong reminder to live in the present, to seek out the joy of life, to be aware of your past but not chained to it, to enjoy this moment not anticipate the future.
When the birds fight they do so with a display of aggression only, they do not aim to injure or maim their opponent, simply to send a message to stay clear, once the other bird has retreated an acceptable distance, the battle ceases. We can all learn from that, when something is done, it’s done, let it be.
Hummingbirds are also said to teach about plant medicine, I hope they have been guiding me in my choice of plants to use on Neu, he’s certainly healing well and quickly, the doctors have been impressed, though I’m not sure they would wholly approve of my home made mix, so that’s our little secret.
Click on any image to enlarge.