Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: hummingbirds

Nature notes

Several times, when I have been out for a walk after dark, I have seen fireflies in the ditches close to our home. There were fireflies near my boyhood home here in Saskatchewan, I saw lots of them when we lived in Ontario, but these are the first I have seen since coming back to Saskatchewan 20 years ago.

The orioles seem to have left us. I put an orange half up on a pole a week ago and it was completely cleaned out. I put up a fresh one on Thursday and it has not been touched.

Most of the hummingbirds seem to have moved on, also. There are still two that come to our feeder numerous times during the day.

We thought we saw hummingbirds among our flower pots after dark several nights ago. A closer look revealed that they were not birds at all, but moths. They are fittingly called hummingbird moths and this is what one looks like. No wonder we were confused. (You don’t see the antennae in semi-darkness.)

 

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The barn swallows who built a nest in the rafters of our garage have just hatched their second batch of the summer. Hope it stays warm long enough for the little ones to become airborne in time for the trip south.

The education of a bird lover

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When we moved to our current home ten years ago, I put up a post that was clearly visible from our dining room window and hung a bird feeder. In other places where we have lived that kind of feeder drew a variety of interesting little songbirds. Here it drew mostly magpies and grackles, noisy and greedy birds who scattered the seeds looking for the ones they wanted, and scared away the small birds. We stopped filling that feeder.

We had more success with a thistle seed feeder hung from the same post; we love to watch the goldfinches float down from the trees and compete for a spot on the feeder.

We put a hummingbird feeder on the other side of the house and it didn’t take long for the little hummers to find it. Occasionally an oriole would come and drink from it. I saw an oriole feeder at Canadian Tire – same principle as the hummingbird feeder but larger holes. It seemed like a great idea; I bought one.

The first summer it attracted wasps, who prevented any birds from coming near. Many of the wasps managed to crawl down the tubes to get closer to the nectar, and drowned. It turned out to be an effective wasp trap, but that hadn’t been our intention. This year we tried the oriole feeder again. Within a couple days there were a bunch of dead flies floating on the nectar inside. We took that feeder down and gave up on it.

Yesterday I took down the unused birdseed feeder, drove a spike through a scrap wood block and screwed it to the bracket the bird feeder had been sitting on. Then I impaled a half orange on the protruding end of the nail. It didn’t take long for an oriole to find it. They seem to be happy, and so are we.

Smoke gets in your eyes . . .

and your sinuses, and your throat. The forest fires in British Columbia are still burning. The smoke has wafted in other directions for the past several weeks, but yesterday and today it is back in our country. There is a blue haze in the air, accompanied by a faint aroma of burning evergreens.

Elderly people and those with respiratory allergies or impaired immune systems are advised to take precautions. I qualify on two of those counts and have been taking double doses of antihistamines all summer. We are two provinces away, imagine what it must be like in B.C.!

One side benefit (?) is that the smoke filters the sunlight and moderates our temperatures.

Other trivia from today –

I spent part of the day doing bookkeeping at the vet clinic. Then I went to check out the sale on the town square of Delisle where my daughter had a table selling Tupperware. (There would be room for debate about whether Delisle has either a downtown or a town square. The business district consists of one block, with a vacant lot at one end that serves as the town square.)

From there, I went across the street to the coffee shop to have a latte. The young lady behind the counter asked me if it had been a busy day at the vet clinic. What? I had to ask her how she knew I had been at the vet clinic. It turns out she had spent a few days there as a work ed student while in high school. Okay, the light began to dawn, I do remember seeing her there. And she made a super latte with the perfect design in the cream on top, just like you see in pictures.

Pine siskins have been mobbing our thistle seed feeder for several weeks now and the goldfinches seemed to have disappeared. Today we saw a goldfinch, but there wasn’t room for him at the feeder. I guess they have been crowded out from our feeder and are most likely going next door. We have hummingbirds fighting for a turn at our hummingbird feeder. These are the young from this year and it seems that there is always one male who is boss and won’t let the others near until he has had his fill. Nature is not all sweet peace and harmony.

Summer hibernation

Two weeks ago, we still occasionally ran the air conditioner to make the house comfortable. Now we use heaters in the morning to make it comfortable. We haven’t seen hummingbirds at our feeder for four days now. Blackbirds are gathering by the hundreds, sometimes perched all along the wires of the power lines. We hear a few sandhill cranes in the air as they fly down from their northern breeding areas. Combines can be heard from the grain fields all around us. The signs of the changing season are all around us.

Yet we are facing the coming of fall with more enthusiasm than we have for many years. You see, my wife had her last chemotherapy treatment just two days ago. Now the recovery can begin. The doctors have told us her leukemia has been beaten back, there are no remaining symptoms. All that remains is to recover from the drugs.

We went to Boston Pizza for dinner after her last treatment on Thursday, before the drugs began to distort her taste. She will have a few days of weariness, maybe a couple of weeks when things don’t taste right, some inflammation of the blood veins where the drugs were administered, plus the hidden danger of a weakened immune system.

Nevertheless, her energy level has increased towards the end of the last two cycles of treatment. She was going for two days of treatment at four-week intervals. She never felt seriously ill after the treatments, but the first two weeks after the treatments she did not have a lot of energy. Then the energy and enthusiasm would begin to increase up to the time of the next two days of treatments. Now there are no next treatments ahead of us.

It feels like we have spent spring and summer in hibernation. Now that fall and winter are ahead of us, we can wake up and learn to enjoy life once more. Rejoice with us!

Pressing utmost need

hummingbird-140461_640The days here have been cool for the last few days. Today was the coolest at 10° Celsius. Sunshine and warmer weather is supposed to return tomorrow. Throughout the day today there was always a hummingbird at our hummingbird feeder and a goldfinch at our finch feeder. I know there was more than one of each, but we only saw one at a time.

These birds are so tiny that they need to take in prodigious amounts of food to maintain their body temperature. That reminded me of a verse from a hymn that we sang in church this morning:

Come ye thirsty, to the living waters,
Hungry, come and on His bounty feed;
Not thy fitness is the plea to bring Him,
But thy pressing utmost need. *

The birds obviously felt their pressing utmost need, and were taking full advantage of the food offered. How am I doing at maintaining my spiritual temperature? Something I read in the Bible three days ago really warmed my heart — is that keeping me warm today? Not likely, especially if what I read didn’t move me to take action of some kind.

It is not enough for the birds to just eat, either. The physical activity fuelled by the food they eat helps to warm their body. In the same way, a Christian needs to feel a “pressing utmost need” of spiritual food, but if that food does not lead to spiritual activity of some kind, Christian life will eventually grow cold.

* Him That Cometh Unto Me, words by Eliza E Hewitt, 1851-1920

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