Hummingbirds Everywhere


One of the most charming aspects of my visit to the Arizona desert was the proliferation of hummingbirds. I didn’t realize that this area was home to the largest population of hummingbirds in our country. Based on the numbers floating about the resort grounds, it seemed to hold true. Though the designated “hummingbird garden” was nowhere near the height of its blooming season, these little birds flitted and flew from branch to branch, hovering delicately out of reach but always deigning to pause for a photo.

A captivating creature by all accounts, the hummingbird comes in a vast array of varieties, and each one I saw looked different from all the others that came before. I never realized how colorful they were, so quickly did they move in the brief and fleeting glimpses I’ve had prior to this. Vibrant greens, accents of scarlet, throats of iridescent gold – even the beaks were a panoply of color, as if each bird had taken time to apply a permanent shade of lipstick and now was perfectly painted for the day.

These were also far less skittish than their New England counterparts. For a couple of years I’ve been growing plants that hummingbirds reportedly favor, and we have only started to receive fleeting visits from a green individual, but he or she never stays very long, and if Andy or I make any movements the visit comes to a quick end.

There was more fauna to come, including birds of prey that were ten times the size and speed of the hummingbird, whose power would astound even the most jaded of watchers. Everything was on the lookout for food, even when it hung in plain sight.

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