A single hummingbird

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Most of my days are pretty good.

Not fantastic, mind you . . . no one showers me with accolades, money, and songs, but also no one is calling me names, spitting on me, or kicking me.

I get up, have a coffee, feed the birds, do a few things, go to the gym, come back and have a snack, do a few more things, eat dinner, watch a few shows with Melisa, do a few more things, then head to bed.

All in all, a pretty good life. Occasionally, something brings a bit of a downer, and this was such a day. Don’t worry; nothing personally terrible, but still a downer.

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So, what happened?

Well, we went to get in the car for our daily trip to the gym, when I noticed something that upset me. There, next to the car, on the ground, a dead hummingbird.

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Obviously, not recently dead, so . . . how!?

How did it come to be there, lying on the cold concrete of my garage on this January day?

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I previously mentioned that, during the summer, on a number of occasions I had Hummingbirds fly into the garage and then not know how to exit, flying around and bumping into the ceiling.

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On a few of those occasions, it took an hour or more to capture the bird and release it outside.

Just to be clear, this is with both garage doors wide open and me trying to shoo it from the high perches it would find. Those were frustrating experiences because the bird would keep trying to fly ‘up’, probably because the ceiling is painted white.

Note to self: next time I paint the garage, choose a dark color.

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It got to the point where I wouldn’t open the garage more than halfway, a fact I would occasionally forget as I carried stuff out or brought stuff back in.

Luckily, I wear a pith helmet (it’s actually plastic) when working outside in the summer, but hitting one’s head is still a rude reminder to be more aware of stuff.

Of course, when we had to go somewhere, the garage door had to be open all the way. After two instances when we had to delay leaving because we spent 45 minutes to an hour trying to get the hummingbird out, we got into the habit of Melisa standing guard outside the open door as I drove the car out of the garage and immediately closed the door.

I also got into the habit of — before and after I closed the garage door — going around the garage to ensure there were no hummingbirds flying around or perched somewhere.

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I must have missed one.

The bird must have made an effort to conceal itself when I was in the garage because I was pretty attentive and careful . . . or thought I was.

So, how did it come to light today?

We had snow last week, and I had taken down the snow shovels normally hanging high up on a pegboard wall. My guess is the bird was either on or in between one of the two deeply curved shovels, and I hadn’t noticed it falling out either when I originally took the shovels down, or yesterday when I hung them back up.

But I noticed it today, and it ruined my usually good mood. I felt guilty, I did, as if I’d failed it somehow . . . which I did.

Mind you, the Summer of 2022 was our fourth Summer here, and the first time we had this issue. I’d not changed anything about the deployment of hummingbird feeders, so we’re not sure why birds started flying into the garage this year.

The closest feeder is 25-30ft away, and there are no convenient perches near the garage doors, and the two times I actually saw them fly in, it was deliberate. There’s nothing in the garage with red colors that might attract them, so that’s a mystery we’ve not solved.

I could understand it if it were on very hot days and they’re seeking shade, but the garage isn’t a particularly cool place since it has a Southern exposure, so on those days I hardly ever open the garage doors.

I have a plan for next Summer.

One, I’ll not have any feeders on the side of the house with the garage doors. Two, there will be a feeder hung inside the garage (a double-edged sword because it’s conceivable that it might attract a hummer, but it will also feed until I notice it). Three, if I still have a problem, I plan to use a sheet of screen material and hang it on the inside of the garage door. When closed, it would hang straight down along the door, but when opened, the screen will hang down perpendicular to the open door and provide at least a partial barrier to birds flying in.

Four . . . I’ll check multiple times a day to ensure I didn’t miss a bird sneaking in. A small price to pay so that I can avoid having another downer of a day next January.

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That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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