Meantime, Above 7000 Feet

I said:

I couldn’t imagine what the hummingbirds eat up here on the mountaintop, when they arrive in May when there is still danger of snow and there are very few flowers, excepting the ubiquitous little purple ones that are supposed to be edible (for people) but have very tiny flowers. Or so I thought. I know from last year that they will be eating thistles – but the thistles haven’t even begun to grow.

And then Larry said:

“Hummingbirds seem to be able to make use of surprisingly small flowers.

We have a “bee balm” native plant in the front garden with very small flowers — less than 1/8 inch I would guess — and the hummingbirds spend a surprising amount of time at each blossom.

Hummingbirds also eat a lot of insects, we’re told, and we recently saw slow-motion videos of them doing just that. They open their beaks very wide, and catch the flying insects way back toward the base of the beak. Looks pretty humorous, but it appears to work just fine.”

Now, I don’t know what these little purple flowers are, but I do know bee balm, and these are quite a lot smaller than bee balm, and yet the hummingbirds are definitely staking out territories. But what do you know if you open your eyes you see these perfect hummingbird flowers on bushes all over the place. It’s not my inattention – it’s my cataracts ☺ And now I’m trying to photograph all the flowers on my little hill and can’t begin to keep up with them all.

Then I sat in the front yard for a cup of coffee, my back to the sun in the crispy morning, when BZZZZZZ, and before me on the table lay the shadow of my head with our hummingbird hovering, first one side then the other. I could feel it probing at the red and pink of my stocking cap, and then zip – gone again. If it’s there, they will find it.