Mr. and Mrs. Flick

We have lots of hummingbirds flitting around the house all year round. They’re attracted to the flowering cacti and citrus trees in late winter and spring, the flowering trees and shrubs all summer and fall, and wild flowers almost all-year-long. There may be a brief dry-spell during the winter when nothing is blooming, so, to encourage their repeated return, we’ve hung feeders in the front and back yards.

Bill calls all the colorful males Flick and the plainer females Mrs. Flick. They aren’t shy and, quite often, pretty demanding. When the feeders run dry, they’ll hover at our office window, staring in as though to say, “Come on people, we’re thirsty out here. Move it, move it, MOVE IT!” And we always do.

Both of our snowbird neighbors from the two houses across the street were leaving for the summer, headed home to Michigan. So Bill and I had them and a few others over for a see-you-next-year backyard get-together. The women sat on the brick patio under the Palo Verde canopy, while the men gathered on the newly “puddled” porch. As the women talked about how wonderful it was to see so many hummers during their time in Arizona, Mrs. Flick was flutter through the branches, intermittently sipping on the delicate yellow Palo Verde blooms and the less labor-intensive hummingbird feeder.

“We have a feeder in back,” Margret said. “We can sit on the patio and they come right up.”

“I know,” I replied. “I’ve actually had them come up and drink while I was hanging it up. They’re definitely not shy.”

“I’m so glad we put one outside our screened porch,” Jeanne added. “We sit out back and have our morning coffee and watch them buzz around.”

“We don’t have one,” Shelley interjected. “It’s too much of a bother and there’s no point in having them get used to an easy meal when we aren’t here to feed them for 7 months.”

I shrugged and replied, “Well I’m happy to have them to look at all year long,” and got up to refresh my adult beverage. As I walked away, Shelley let out a squeal and when I turned to see what was wrong, she was wiping the back of her head.

“Oh my gosh,” she exclaimed, staring in disgust at the palm of her hand. “I think a bird just pooped on my head!”

I glanced up at Mrs. Flick, who was see-sawing gently on a slender Palo Verde branch several feet above the cluster of wives seated below.

“Interesting,” I muttered.

“What’s interesting?” asked Margret, as I started walking toward the back porch.

“I always suspected those hummers could understand us. Now I know for sure,” I replied with a wink and a nod.



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