When my parents moved to the suburbs of the southern New Jersey shore areas about twelve years ago following a lifetime of Philadelphia city living, they seemed to become obsessed with nature. I mean really, when your mom buys bird watching books, binoculars and invests in plants and feeders to attract birds, after years and years of shoo-ing pigeons and sparrows from your front stoop or back porch and stating “I hate nature”, that’s quite a seismic shift in interest levels, dontchathink? Combine those purchases with conversation starters such as ‘I saw a turkey vulture…’ or ‘Today, we saw five hummingbirds…’, you begin to wonder who, in fact, IS this strange person standing in front you. I mean, she looks like Mom, but she’s not speaking like Mom. I guess she’s the new New Jersey Mom.
What pushed it over the edge for us is when my mother – who doesn’t love to cook or bake – started to make FOOD FOR THE HUMMINGBIRDS. Yes, that’s right. She whipped up a little sucrose-laden concoction that she dyed red to “attract the hummingbirds”. Her knowing that hummingbirds like red food is akin to Alan knowing that tigers love pepper – not cinnamon – on their steaks.
(Don’t get me wrong – she’s a good cook, but cooking or baking weren’t her thing, like say crafts and sewing were. So the fact that she was whipping up a little something special for teeny tiny birds was a real … hoot for my brothers and I. Hoot. Ugh. Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)
Of course (and this will ring particularly true for those who know my brothers and I well), we took this new found love of “nature” and ran with it. There wasn’t an opportunity that went by where we didn’t snicker at the bird watching books, or take the binoculars out back to spoof my parents looking at birds. We’d ask my parents to name any bird that came into sight, including common birds like seagulls and sparrows, and considered making donations to the local audubon society in their names – just for giggles. (That was basically a long-ish paragraph to tell you that we are wise guys. Not in the Sopranos sense of the word, but in the wisenheimer, smart aleck sense of the word.)
So, you can imagine my horror that I now like to check out the different birds that visit my backyard. Especially the hummingbirds. I KNOW. This is karma coming right back around and taking the proverbial bite out of my behind, right?! I am still trying to get to the bottom of this sudden interest in attracting birds to my backyard. Is it age? boredom? new found access to these mystical little creatures that crave sweets? I don’t know. But I do know they are super cute, and definitely mesmerizing and kind of fun to watch flit around the backyard sampling the available nectars. (In some way, I guess this is a public apology for messin’ with you, Sarge ;))
I caught this little gal enjoying our honeysuckle recently.
And, as I covered here, I invested in a hummingbird feeder and made them food myself. Who has time for this? Apparently, me. Welcome to Oregon! 🙂