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All original photography by Stacy Alexander ®All Rights Reserved – 2016

If ever I had an obsession, it is my current one with hummingbirds.  I am absolutely fascinated by them and have begun studying them….because hey, I have little else to do, right?  (NOT!)  No, I have but one lowly feeder at my living room window, and promises from my devoted husband to rig some kind of bar out there, from which we can hang a plethora of feeders, all in a row.

I love to photograph them.  I have not had success yet….I mean, I’ve taken a few sort of good photos, but I am working toward more dynamic results.

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I have been able to utilize the “bad” pictures by digitizing them and using them in my collage work and have even introduced a line of cards with my digitized hummingbird images on them, which I will give more details about when they return from the printers…but for now, I’m just trying to learn how to take some good pictures.

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To add to my enthusiasm, quite unexpectedly, a few days ago, my friend Judah,  from Tennessee, gifted me with this amazing book.  I am currently in the process of reading it aloud to Ingrid, and we’re enjoying it very much.  (Her comprehension level is amazingly high for a 6 year old…).  We have just begun Chapter 4 and are thoroughly enthralled, and I have been sternly instructed not to read any more until I see her again, which will be after school tomorrow.  It was an uncanny coincidence that Judah sent this book to me, because I had just heard the author interviewed on NPR.

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The book is an excellent read.  A couple of things we’ve learned thus far are that hummingbirds use materials that resemble the colors that the hatched babies will turn when their feathers come in.  Another interesting tidbit is that the tiny baby hummingbirds latch their claws and legs deeply into the bottoms of the nests and remain anchored there until they decide to extract themselves.  Therefore, one should always avoid trying to life a baby out of its nest, because this could result in injuring their lower extremities, or even removing them! (yikes!) Glad I found out about that this early on.

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Most of the hummingbirds that visit our feeder are these little Annas.  However, I was absolutely thrilled, the other day, to note that beautiful Allens have also begun to come.  I managed to capture this shot through the window the other day, of a tiny Allen with its bright red head. It was a baby, only about 2″ long, and, unfortunately, the glare from my window prevented a better shot, but this will give you an idea of its incredible beauty. (BTW, I believe that is an Allens on the cover of the book…)

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To get an idea of how tiny this little guy was, simply compare it to the rose leaves in the front of the picture.  Rose leaves aren’t that big.

Sometimes, I take my big telephoto lens out and sit very still in one of our patio chairs and wait for them to arrive.  They flock to the feeder just before sunset.  There is one bird to whom I refer as “the king” who sort of zooms in and bosses everyone else around.  The other day when I was sitting out there with my camera, this one buzzed my head repeatedly.  I figure I was probably sitting too close to a nest or something.  A blurry photo, but it gives you an idea of this little cheeper’s determination to protect its territory.  ( I respectfully moved my chair to another location.)

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One can learn a lot from watching hummingbirds and by studying their habits.  One can learn about life….and beauty….and love….and devotion.  When I see one, it never fails to amaze me.  It fills me with gratitude and makes me appreciate the moment.

Things in my life right now are really good.  The family that are near, are the best that one could ever hope for.  My husband. My daughter.  My kind son-in-law. Love near.  Love from afar. My tiny grandson.  His mother.   And, of course, the  most kind and wonderful best friend I could ever hope to have and love, one who has traveled a difficult journey with me,  and who is steadfast in his love and devotion. I have intelligent and interesting friends here in Portland, story tellers, music makers….  Maybe these little birds teach me that the small things in life are those worth my focus….worth my nurturing. These fabulous gifts are my life gifts.

Everything else just falls away … and out of my mind.