Wednesday, June 29, 2011

the first of the season

I've been waiting, patiently, for the hummingbirds to arrive.
I thought they were late.
I thought perhaps that our wet, cold spring had slowed their arrival.
and then yesterday I saw my first hummingbird, hovering a few feet higher than my head, centered in the middle of the road, wings moving so quickly they appear to be where they're not.
I swear it smiled at me.

I looked back at previous posts to see what time of year the hummingbirds arrived in other years, and apparently the very end of june is the very beginning of hummingbird season in emigration canyon.
and it's always the same place I see them: just over 7 miles up, where the canyon is narrow and cool, where trees reach in yoga stretches across the road.

this morning I saw my second hummingbird of the season, or perhaps it was a second sighting of the first, as it was within 20 yards of where I saw one (it) yesterday. you may laugh, but hummingbirds are extremely intelligent, and it's said they remember every flower they have been to. so I will choose to believe (you know I like to make up my own stories about things) that this particular hummingbird likes some flowers in that vicinity, and is therefore around to greet me (okay, and a few other cyclists) while spending his or her time here in utah.

their hearts can beat up to 1260 times per minute, with a typical resting rate of 250.
their metabolism is roughly 100 times that of an elephant.
they are the only bird that can fly both forward and backward, and they can fly sideways and upside down.
they can drink from over 1000 flowers each day.

I did pull some facts, because I think they're fascinating, but ornithology is something I place in the same category with golf: Things I May Take Up When I'm a Bit Older.
for now I am happy to be cheered by the whirring wings and graceful profile of the hovering hummingbird, as I make my comparatively cumbersome way up the lane.

I'm glad it's hummingbird season, again.

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