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Humming a new tune

While scrolling through Amazon.com in search of spring — and, yes, I know it’s early — I happened upon the perfect gift to give myself. It was love at first sight.

A family-owned and operated business in Fort Worth, Texas, has devised a stick-to-your-window contraption with small glass tubes secured with fire-engine red plugs and complemented by an attached copper hook. My description makes it sound like a torture device, but it is instead the most ingenious hummingbird feeder I’ve ever encountered. And yesterday it was placed firmly on our patio door waiting to host a hungry hummingbird.

Or is it “thirsty?” Actually I’m in hopes of a “bouquet ” of them (or a “hover” or a “shimmer”). The names for hummingbirds feasting together are many. I think “charm” is my personal favorite. And that is also the adjective (“charmed”) that describes how I feel about the potential for even a few hummingbirds standing by to shepherd me into a new season.

I realize it’s ambitious thinking. Maybe three months early if you follow state-by-state data on hummingbird migration. Then again, maybe this is yet another consideration in the effort to understand global warming, because despite our overcast weather the mid-January day it was mounted, our hummingbird “Sweet Feeder” had two fly-bys in a matter of minutes. A little later in the day, a larger-than-anticipated, iridescent-throated hummingbird landed and drank for what seemed like a minute but was probably only about three seconds. He or she has not returned, which makes me insecure about the sugar/water combination I used.

I will revisit nectar recipes. I will boil and cool to room temperature the water I use. I will regularly wash the glass tubes and refill them. I will be patient. And I will not be deterred in my vision that some day one or more of these tiny-winged creatures will be regular guests at my innovative feeding apparatus.

Lucy, our never-barks-but-just-stares spaniel, is helping me with sightings. If she is sitting quietly next to the sliding patio door and looking up intently at the upper left portion of the window, there is always the possibility she is witnessing a fly-by. That has not happened yet, but there is always the possibility.

As I learn more about “hummings” (see how familiar I have become — and so quickly), I am advised these solitary-minded beings are extremely intelligent and have excellent memories (I got that from a reliable source: worldofhumingbirds.com) in addition to being beautiful.

The experts say the two types of hummingbirds I am likely to see as winter becomes spring are rufous hummingbirds (males are bright orange on the back and belly; females have a spot of orange on the throat) and Anna’s hummingbirds (they are green and gray, and the male’s head and throat has reddish-pink feathers).

I have always felt that if you are going through stressful times, beautiful diversions can serve as a sort of balm no matter what kind of transitions you are experiencing. I’ll keep you posted about that.

Correction to last week's column: The author of the "Anne of Green Gables" books is L.M. Montgomery. The books are about Anne Shirley's escapades but are not written by her.

Sharon Johnson is a retire educator and can be reached at sharjohn99@gmail.com.