a photograph by Sonja Bingen
When Sonja came to visit two weeks ago, she took several photographs of the hummingbirds that Ethel attracts through three feeders to the south and west. Continental Divide is on the conveyor belt for hummingbirds that runs along the continental divide from Canada through New Mexico, and Ethel attracts thousands of hummingbirds to our yard every year. She fills every feeder four or five times a day and goes through an elaborate routine at the kitchen sink to prepare sugar water for the small, buzzing birds, including cleaning each feeder with each new fill, making sure she’s boiled and cooled the water enriched with sugar, and getting just the right formula every time. We currently have five species coming to the feeders, although we see seven different species during the typical summer. The other day Ethel saw an unusual bird that was roughly twice the size of the others. This was a first and has not been seen again. There are so many in the evenings just before sunset that the air between the dead pinion tree over our fence, the chain link silver fence itself, and the air around the feeders has a kaleidoscope of hummingbirds. Sometimes they are lined up three deep at each “flower” where they can get at the nectar. Sonja has the patience of a great photographer and patiently waited in the sun on a hot day to get a score of shots like the one here.