Please Take Care of My Bird by Evelyn Hadden

BirdCare3Female rufous hummingbird on hummingbird mint (Agastache rupestris ‘Acapulco Orange’) in my Boise garden

My garden right now is a sensory feast. This morning, I cut the peppermint back from the path and hung bundles of it from the covered arbor in which I’m sitting, and its aroma perfumes the enclosed space as I write.

The colors of every scene and view are dramatic. Red blanketflower glows against a backdrop of purple ninebark leaves. Golden yellow apples dot the ground, echoing paler yellow blossoms on ‘Moonbeam’ coreopsis and evening primrose. Across the courtyard in the mini-prairie, leaning stalks of spent Maximilian sunflower tower above madly blooming white and purple asters threaded with ‘Fireworks’ goldenrod, while airy switchgrass seedheads reflect jewels of light. It is an embarrassment of riches here, and I feel lucky to witness it all.

Birds and squirrels still enliven my yard, twittering and fluttering and scampering, but the last hummingbird left a week ago, adding a note of sadness to this season of goodbyes. I miss the hummingbirds — their squeaky voices, whirring wings, and lively curiosity.

I cut part of my trumpetvine back this morning. Trained as a small tree, it had encroached on half of my driveway, but I waited to be sure the last hummingbird was truly gone before removing any of it. I thought she might be spending these colder nights in its sheltered interior.

I imagine her making her way from Boise down to Mexico, maybe even crossing the Gulf in a nonstop 20-hour flight. Of course, she might also head for New Orleans. Whatever her winter destination, I hope she will have a successful journey there and back.

So if you are in her path, please take care of my bird. Leave your late-blooming nectar sources and your insects; she might need them for fuel. Be sure she can find a safe shelter for the night.

Without other gardeners to help her on her way, we won’t be reunited next year. I’m depending on you! And I’ll do the same for your birds.

Please Take Care of My Bird originally appeared on Garden Rant on October 7, 2015.

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