Hummingbird don’t fly away, fly away…

Hummingbird don't fly away don't fly away don't fly away...

You can’t see them.  You can’t hear them.  Yet a million tiny wings beat in the clouds and sky, veering south, aimed toward Florida and Mexico and the Caribbean at this time of year. 

They left late this year.  The females buzzed around at least until September 14th, four days later than usual. 

I have a theory.  The females leave every year on September 10th and the males arrive again from their southern homes on May 10th.  Every year.  Come rain or shine or foul weather.  They’re more regular than our clocks. 

Except this year they were still here on the 14th. 

“What’s up?” I asked Barry.  “Why aren’t they gone yet?” 

He had no answer. 

But by the 15th–yesterday–they had departed.  We think.  A lone straggler or two may show up the feeder, but basically they’re gone. 

Winter is a’coming. 

Holding a hummingbird in hand, praying for its survival.

Since I have no current-year hummingbird photos, let’s dive into the archives.  Last year a hummingbird wandered into Barry’s garage and needed immediate rescue.  It couldn’t seem to find its way out, and almost died.  If you want to read the post which describes the drama please click here

Begging an almost-dead hummingbird to drink

The precious hummingbird lived to fly into the sky.  Is it flying now through the vapors, across the wheat and corn fields of the Midwest?  

Did it return here this summer, back to the place where it sipped the nectar from our feeder?  Where the sweet sugar of the Impatiens plant dove down its sharp beak? 

The males usually leave this part of the Upper Peninsula by the end of August.  The females follow about ten days later.  Do they meet up with their mates in the land of the palm trees?

Do they somehow share stories of the long journey, of the rivers below, the bean fields, the way a hawk sometimes swooped from the sky?

Goodbye, Hummingbirds. May you wing back north next May.

We’ll miss you, dear hummingbirds.  We imagine your trail through the sky.  When you arrive next May the wildflowers will bloom again in the forest. 

Don’t be late…we’ll dream of you through the long winter.

P.S.  For those of you more interested in hummingbird facts, here is some  nectar to feed your minds:

1. Hummingbirds fly about 25-30 miles an hour.

2.  Ruby-throated hummingbirds (the variety that summer here) have been known to travel 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico to breeding grounds.

3.  A hummingbird can eat anywhere between one half  (1/2) to eight times its body weight a day.  (Yes, a day!)

4.  Some hummingbirds will travel over 2,000 miles twice a year during the annual migration.

5.  Geese and hummingbirds fly on different migration paths and no, hummingbirds do not travel south on the backs of geese.  That’s a rumor, folks.

6.  Hummingbirds eat on the average of seven times an hour for 30-60 seconds per brunch.

7.  They will visit an average of 1,000 flowers per day for nectar.  (Who in the world figured this out?)

8.  OK, instead of typing all these nifty facts, I will lead you to a page which will satisfy your hummingbird curiousity almost completely:


About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Hummingbird don’t fly away, fly away…

  1. Dawn says:

    Awww… I know. It’s so sad when you realize they’re gone. I put out what is the last new food for them this week. I haven’t seen one in about 3 maybe they’re already gone. But I leave the food out and replace it with fresh for a bit just in case there is someone out there that needs that last bit of sugar to get him to a safe warmer place for the winter.

    I miss them already.

    • Kathy says:

      My mom–downstate, near you–always wants to know when the last hummingbird leaves here. We always figure it will be at least a week later when the last bird leaves downstate Michigan. But you say you haven’t seen one in about three days? Hmmmm….maybe the one I saw on the 14th really was a straggler!

      • Dawn says:

        I stand corrected. There’s a female at the feeder RIGHT NOW!

        If I can get the dog to stop barking she’ll be there awhile. She’s thirsty.

        Possibly I haven’t seen them because I’ve been at work? Or she’s a straggler. Hard to say…

  2. Cindy Lou says:

    I keep thinking that it’s time to take down the feeder and clean it up for the winter, but have been leaving it out for the stragglers….and because I’m just too lazy to do it! Thanx… that song’s stuck in my head! I like it, but only know that one line…. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, it’s always so questionable when to take down the hummingbird feeder. I keep looking at ours…wondering…but then not wanting to deprive the stragglers. OK, maybe lazines sis part of it, too!

  3. Susan D. says:

    Thank you for the tribute to our hummingbird friends. They’re wonderful creatures. I love the sound of even a single hummingbird. Can you imagine the symphony in the skies that thousands of them produce?

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, have you noticed the little shrieking/buzzing noises the males (especially) make when they’re dive-bombing each other? Thinking now about the Symphony in the Sky. What a sweet concerto!

  4. Kathy – We didn’t see one single hummingbird this year. We don’t typically get loads and loads of them anyway, but this year we didn’t see any (I just checked with Len, he doesn’t recall seeing any either). Come to think of it, we didn’t see any Orioles this year either!

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, not a single hummingbird?? Really? And no Orioles? That is discouraging. We don’t usually get Orioles this far north. Every once in a while you can see that flash of orange in the woods and get tingles from the amazement of them.

  5. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Kathy, how lovely! Some of ours stay all year so we always seem to have the little fellows around. Our apartment is on the second floor with large windows looking out over a green space and the mountain. Lots of trees and flowers around. I almost always have an escort up our front stairs and then get a good talking to and/or scolding ?!? And heaven forbid if a feeder ever goes empty! They seem to like peering in our windows to have a peek at what we’re doing…..and then having a say about it all 🙂

    Grace, joy, light, messenger and healer, balance. And a symphony in the sky….what a beautiful image.

    • Kathy says:

      Now that is a lovely image, Colleen. Year-round hummers, mountains out the window!! and lots of trees and flowers. Hummingbirds accompanying you as escorts. Hummingbirds communing. Ahhh…love their energy and hope they brought healing & balance for all. Oh, and joy and grace and light too.

  6. jeffstroud says:

    This was so poetic ! How sweet of you to honor this wondrous little bird is such a way!
    No Humming Birds here… on occasion but too too dry this year. Laurie we did Orioles early this year usually just traveling through!

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, have you ever heard of folks putting up oranges for the Orioles? We tried that once when we saw a traveling Oriole. Not sure if he drank or not. Surprised that you don’t have hummingbirds either. Too much in the city, perhaps?

  7. Is that just like you, to nurse a beautiful creature back to survival….

    Thanks for the great and fun facts….I have a great feeling that if I would come visit your area, I would be brought back to the nature and science I so love….


  8. Karma says:

    Oh, I’ve been trying all summer to get a photo of the hummingbirds who have stopped by my fuchsia and butterfly bush. I was never at the ready quickly enough. And now they are gone? Dang it! It’s true I haven’t noticed them around lately, but I have less time for hummingbird watching with the hustle and bustle of school back in our lives. So sweet of you to nurse that little one back to health! Like I have to say about my favorite baseball team, just wait until next year!

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, I would love a really good camera and patience to be sitting, waiting, sitting, waiting for that hummingbird to fly by and then to capture its gossamer wings as they beat at the speed of lightening. Would that be 100 ISO or 3000 ISO, gosh I can never remember. I would try both! We will both be waiting with baited breath until our next hummingbird sighting.

      • Karma says:

        Not so much the ISO you want to worry about for catching those superfast wings – a fast shutter speed, maybe 1/1000 or so, would be what you’d need. The ISO is light sensitivity, so if your hummingbird was out in bright light you could do a low number like 100 or 200 where if it was evening you’d want a high number. I’m happy I’m starting to understand these things! I’m thinking of planting some bee balm this fall to increase my chances of hummingbirds next year.

        • Kathy says:

          OK, that’s what is always confusing me. But I don’t have one of those cameras that HAS adjustable shutter speed, DO I? On the little Sony Cybershots, I’m not sure where that setting would be. Sigh… This is why I need a new camera. Right? Will look forward to viewing your beautiful hummingbird shot next summer.

  9. fountainpen says:

    Kathy: I held a bird in my hand just like that once….and prayed
    and stroked it gently and slowly, slowly, it came to, and stood up, and
    suddenly flew away……..It was a awesome experience. One that touched me deeply.


    • Kathy says:

      Fountainpen, I can imagine you holding that bird and praying and seeing it fly healed into the sky. It IS an awesome experience. I wish all of us could hold a hummingbird and feel the love of wanting the bird to survive.

  10. Marianne says:

    I haven’t seen hummingbirds where I live. I have seen lots of blue jays, cardinals, yellow finches, morning doves, chickadees, squirrels, chipmunks. The neighbour has many bird feeders and loves to put peanuts out on his deck. The jays and squirrels eat ’em up fast. I love the sound of birds, especially in the morning.

    • Kathy says:

      Bird song is so delightful, Marianne. You feel like you’re in a riotous jungle of bird song. You are lucky to have cardinals. They live in lower Michigan, but not as far north as here. Mourning doves are some of my favorites.

  11. Marianne says:

    Also, I loved fountainpens comment. I could just picture that scene. It must have been awesome. I vaguely remember caring for wounded birds when I was very young.

  12. Carol says:

    We’ve had a single hummingbird here the past week or so – I saw her out there this morning. We get Rufous Hummingbirds, and seem to have a family. We start out with one, then two, then we only see one at a time for awhile, and then, suddenly, there are six of them. That’s happened the past two years, so I’m assuming it’s a family. We did have Bullock Orioles all summer this year – I have hummingbird feeders they can feed at now, so I guess that’s why they stayed for longer than a brief one or two day visit. I put out orange halves and grape jelly for them last year when I saw a pair – but they never came back. So I was thrilled when they stuck around this year.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, that is so cool. i wonder if they are a family, or if newcomers wander in? We have the Ruby-throated hummingbirds here. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen another variety. So happy to hear you had Orioles ALL summer. What a gift! (Didn’t know they like grape jelly.)

  13. barb says:

    Small wonders! Isn’t Nature fascinating?

  14. Robin says:

    Fascinating hummingbird facts. Like you, I wonder who figures that stuff out (and how they do it!).

    I’m so glad there was a happy ending to the hummingbird story. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, there must be scientists who study the hummingbirds 24/7. They probably have written their doctoral dissertations based on their lack of a social life. These professors probably have grown tiny hummingbird wings themselves but are afraid to share that with the general populace, lol!

  15. Marjory says:

    Dear Kathy,
    they are such precious little beings that sparkle with light! I also held one in my hand. I found it dead on the street. I buried it and kept a feather in my altar. Amazing that nursed that little one back to life!

    • Kathy says:

      They do sparkle with light, Marjory. I am glad you honored the dead hummingbird and buried it. I have a tiny feather sent to me by a friend…and have seen the tiny feathers on the lawn before. It was a miracle to witness the life restored.

  16. Really, not a single one. And that’s a shame, because energetically speaking (their totem medicine) represents:

    Hummingbird – TIRELESS JOY and the NECTAR OF LIFE
    Oriole – The WEAVING of NEW SUNSHINE

  17. Maybe I’ll see the one you saved, Kathy. I’ll look out for them. It’s time for my silk floss tree to start blossoming and that attracts them. Somehow they love oak too. And here’s a question I asked myself yesterday – where do hummingbirds sleep?

    • Kathy says:

      Meenakshi, what a delightful thought to think that hummingbird might flutter its wings around your silk floss tree. I would love to see a photo of your silk floss tree in blossom–what do you think? Please give me a nudge if you decide to publish it. As for hummingbirds sleeping~~that is a good question. I’ve seen their little nests, but think they abandon them after the babes fly out. Maybe just perched on branches??

  18. Val Erde says:

    I’ve said it before (many times, to many people) but I’ll say it again: I wish we had humming birds here in the UK. I’ve never seen one except in photos and videos and they are gorgeous little birds. Can they perch like other birds, or do they just sit to rest for a moment?

    On the subject, you might like this: Behind the scenes of “Hummingbirds.”

    • Kathy says:

      Val, you have some darn good links. I wish you had hummingbirds in the UK, too. Yes, we’ve seen them sitting and resting on branches–usually just for a minute or two.

      I am so excited about that hummingbird video that I just linked it on Facebook for others to see. Thank you!

  19. newfey says:

    This may sound crazy, but I swear my little humming bird says goodbye before leaving. All summer long the bird just comes up to the feeder, drinks and flies away. But at the end of the season I have noticed that after drinking the nectar it will fly up to and seem to look into several of my windows before flying away and I never see it again until the next season.

    • Kathy says:

      I totally believe you, newfey. totally. May your hummingbirds continue to look your way and say goodbye…

      • newfey says:

        Thanks Kathy. I love watching them flit around. I think next spring I will plant some pretty flowers outside my window and hopefully they will hang around a little longer

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s