An Encounter with a Hummingbird

A few days ago, in early August,  I had an extraordinary encounter with a hummingbird.  I was using a large watering can to water some plants in my garden when suddenly a hummingbird appeared hovering close beside the watering can and within inches of my chest.  I was both thrilled and delighted.  My first reaction was to think the bird must want to bathe in the spray from the can, so I tried to lift it to make the spray more accessible, but that was evidently not what the bird wanted.

My mind was racing.  The bird was not only unusually close, it was larger than the Rufus Hummingbirds I often saw in my garden.  I was looking down on it so could see only its back and head, both of which were green.  Its size told me it must surely be a female Anna’s Hummingbird, a species I had seen only once before, and that had been the previous December not very far from where I was seeing it now.  It had been just over the fence in my neighbor’s yard were it had been assiduously harvesting something — probably insects — from the branches of a holly tree.  There must be someone nearby who maintains a feeder for these birds, which is something I would like to do, but I live alone and consequently could not be sure I could always maintain a feeder.  Helping nature involves taking on a responsibility.

When I moved the watering can, the bird moved to where it could look into it, and from where it could see the water was out of its reach.  In an instant it was gone.  It had wanted to drink from my watering can!  I felt honored.



About Art Guppy

Art spent over 70 years studying and writing about native plants of the Pacific Northwest from BC to California, especially the genus Erythronium and related plants. This site is a compilation of his work for the benefit of naturalists everywhere.
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