Good Morning, Dexter

As I wander along in my personal odyssey, periodically, I bump into a simple, striking realization — an epiphany.  

This morning began just the way I like it. Coffee and a cigarette. Very good/expensive coffee and an organic/healthy/no additive/expensive cigarette. As I puffed and sipped, Dexter showed up to greet me. Dexter’s a hummingbird. 

Last year we hung one lone hummingbird feeder and saw very little activity. This year, I did a little research on the Smithsonian’s website on where to hang the feeders and what to feed them. Isn’t it amazing how results come about when you consult experts?

We now have 2 hummingbird feeders hanging on the bottom branch of our ornamental trees to the left of the screened porch. When my wife first opens her eyes in the morning and looks out the bedroom window, she can see Dexter hovering or perched at the feeder. Dexter’s food is made fresh daily using the Smithsonian recipe of 4 parts water to one part sugar. He loves it. 

A couple of days ago, we didn’t see one hummingbird all day. I was worried.  That’s what prompted me to write this article. I was also saddened and slightly amazed that I was both worried and saddened by the absence of a hummingbird.

Had they abandoned us? Did they fall prey to whatever enemies they may have? Were they suddenly on a no-sugar diet?  

But, for whatever reason, minutes after I sat down around 6:15 AM today, there was Dexter. He said good morning in the usual way — by hovering in mid-air. He’s showing off. He has 3 gears — fast, very fast forward, neutral for hovering, and he’s the only bird that can fly backwards. The naked eye cannot see his wings in flight with a wing speed between 53 and 80 beats/second. That’s seconds, not minutes. Hey! We can’t even say it that fast. 

Of all the miracles in nature, both gigantic and microscopic, the 50-million-year evolution of Dexter, gets my vote for the most fascinating. His physical capability, his glorious coloration.

I watch in awe.

Sometimes Dexter hovers and sometimes he perches on one of the little loops next to a feeding hole. On his second visit today around 10 AM there was no showing off. He perched and got down to business, feeding for about one minute. 

Looking forward, I intend to capture a few of these hummingbird moments. This past week we made a failed attempt to buy a telescopic viewer. The ship date was August??? Eventually we’ll buy one with a camera attachment and graduate to serious bird-watcher status.

All because of Dexter.

At 12:45 PM while I inhaled nicotine fix #3, Dexter appeared. This time he hovered briefly and was gone.

It is now 5:37 PM. While I was sipping an ice-cold Heineken, Dexter showed up for the 4th time today. He put on a display of his entire repertoire —- hovering — darting backwards and forward while he consumed what, for him, had to be a huge dinner.

Or, maybe he was just saying “Hi”!

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