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Missing Mim

Sep
6
2006

We named her Mim and she stalked our hummingbird feeders like a junkyard dog guarding a bone. Though she weighed less than an ounce, compared with her peers she was a hefty girl.
Mim the hummingbird has turned Dirtman and me into Bird Geeks.
It all started innocently enough. One of the roads in our subdivision is called Hummingbird Lane, causing us to wonder whether this meant we had an unusually large hummingbird population. Serendipitously, as these things often are, a friend of Dirtman’s had just opened a bird feeder store.
Did you know that there are 19 different hummingbird species in Texas? That’s the kind of fact Bruce pulls out of his brain during casual conversation. This is the ideal guy to own a bird feeder store.
So Bruce set us up with a hummingbird feeder and deck mounting equipment that even Dirtman and I could manage to put up ourselves.
Within 15 minutes of putting up the feeder, Mim was there. Fifteen minutes later Mim was still there. Cats on the deck, dogs barking at her, Mim was sucking down nectar (i.e., the sugar water I’d prepared) and daring them to take a flying leap off the deck to catch her.
Other hummingbirds would try to partake of our unending supply of nectar, but Mim would have none of it. There were times the battle was more brutal than any World War I dog fight, always ending with Mim perched triumphantly on the hummingbird silhouette filial she fancied herself resembling, coming down from what had to be a monumental sugar jag.
So we got another feeder for the rest of the hummingbirds, especially for the males. Hummingbird males are a wussy bunch, but very pretty with their bright red throats offset by their iridescent green backs. We hadn’t up to this point been able to see any in person because, while other female hummingbirds really ticked off our very territorial Mim, she got positively indignant when a male showed up.
So the alternate feeder idea worked for maybe 10 minutes before Mim laid claim to both, barely having time to protect her turf at one feeder before a security breach had her flapping for the other.
“Maybe a third feeder,” Dirtman suggested.
“She’ll have a nervous breakdown,” I replied. Not that any hummingbird is mellow. But Mim seemed to be a bit more, uh — focused than the others.
Bruce had warned us not to take the feeders down until September was over and then only when we hadn’t seen any hummingbirds for two weeks. During August our local birds spent their time beefing up for the trip. September is migration month.
One morning there were over a dozen hummingbirds at the feeders. The females were crankily dive-bombing each other and the males taking advantage of their hissy-fights to grab a few sips now and then. But there was no mistaking the social dynamics had changed drastically.
Mim had migrated.
“I can’t believe we’re bummed about a bird,” Dirtman said as we gazed sadly over our morning coffee at the empty filial. “What are we going to do when they’ve all migrated?”
“What time do you suppose Bruce opens today?” I asked.
I wonder if it’s possible to suffer empty nest syndrome when your kid is still living with you.

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 10:15 AM | Permalink

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