Three separate snowfalls homebound us for eight days starting Christmas. That’s unusual for our area of Washington but not as unusual as the low teens temperatures.
Before the deepfreeze, we brought freezable items into the garage including the hummingbird feeder. Although our local variety, Anna’s hummingbird, overwinters here, neither Kit nor myself had seen one since before Thanksgiving. Then as the initial snow deepened, I saw a hummingbird waiting at the feeder’s previous location. I quickly filled a feeder and rushed it out. The little male looked funny coming amidst heavy snowfall.
Because the sweetened water froze quickly, I alternated feeders, one available the other thawing. At one point, Kit reported the little bird had frozen onto the feeder. Completely motionless for minutes he did appear dead on the perch. But he darted away when I went out to investigate.
At nightfall, I brought in both feeders to prepare for the frigid next day. I had never seen any hummingbird active at night. Working late I heard the unmistakable buzz of hummingbird wings at my office window. Temperatures had fallen to the low teens. I imagined the difficulty of the tiny bird staying warm without food. Hummingbirds consume about half their body weight a day in normal weather. He must be starving, I realized. Immediately, we started alternating feeders all night.
Our hummingbird only comes occasionally now that temperatures have moderated and most of the snow has melted. I’m certain we saved him.
Kit and I had a wonderful Christmas. We made a list and for three weeks prior did every fun thing we could imagine. But now that it’s all over, the part that gives me the most joy is saving Anna’s hummingbird. Why? I asked myself. I believe because that involved kindness. Kindness is its own reward.
In Our Lord,