The first time I saw a hummingbird was in Sooke, on Vancouver Island, while visiting my boyfriend’s parents. They had several feeders around their property, and the first time one of these minuscule, zippy birds approached, I was completely rapt. I’ve found them fascinating ever since, but we lived in Vancouver, where no hummingbirds dared venture.
When Nathan and I moved to Pemberton four years ago, his mother Lisa gave us a hummingbird feeder as a housewarming gift. It was December at the time, and I couldn’t wait for spring to arrive to set up our feeder.
And now every year, as much as I look forward to spring for the fresh green scent of new growth and the return of warmer weather, what I really look forward to is the return of the hummingbirds. I get immense joy from putting out fresh, homemade nectar for these precious visitors, and take special care to ensure my feeder is always stocked. (I haven’t planted my garden yet, but I’ve already refilled my feeder twice.)
Part of my joy comes from being able to watch these fascinating birds closely, as the feeder is located right by our living room window. But a good portion of this joy is from the feeling that I’m helping these tiny creatures by providing them with food. Especially at this time of year, when the flowers are still just returning and nectar is low, and they are vying for the attentions of potential mates. (It must take a lot of energy to execute those dive-bombing shows the males use to impress the ladies.) Since moving here, I’ve learned there’s plenty of wildlife you shouldn’t feed, but thankfully the hummingbirds aren’t one. It gives me joy to feed these birds, while they in turn feed my joy.
Hummingbirds can be seen as a symbol of lightness, for the incredibly light way they move about their world. They can help remind us to try to use similar lightness in the way we move through our world. To leave gentle footprints on the Earth, to care for one another, and to treat everyone with gratitude and respect. So here’s to spring, here’s to joy, and here’s to the hummingbirds.