It will never happen again.
I will never again hold a hummingbird in the palm of my hand.
Actually, it was Olga who cuddled the creature; I had a camera in the palm of my hand. But the sensation is burned into my tiny brain.
We’ve had rotten weather recently. But rotten is relative. Further west, they’ve had up to two feet of snow already. We’ve had a mere frosting. Along with rain and plunging temperatures.
The summer birds are gone. The winter birds, like the junco and the chickadee, are checking out our feeders, which we haven’t filled yet. Only the hummingbird feeder, a holdover from summer, is full. A lone hummer has been sucking back the red syrup. It looks cold, wet, and bedraggled.
So when it perched on the feeder and did not move, did not flutter so much as a feather, Olga checked on it. She nudged it.
It plummeted to the ground.
She picked it up and brought it indoors.
“You’ll never guess what I have,” she said.
She opened up her fist. There was the hummingbird – cold, wet, and bedraggled.
“Close it!” I said.
We did not need a bird loose in the roof beams.
She felt its heartbeat coming back.
I hustled her outdoors and focused the lens on her fist.
“Okay, now,” I said.
She opened her fist. I snapped the picture. The bird flew away.
We left the syrup feeder up the rest of the day. If the creature were going to migrate several thousand miles, it would need energy.
It never returned.
The feeder is in storage for the winter.