Pinkie is a hummingbird who has been my buddy for two years now. That’s right, Pinkie is a hummingbird, and Pinkie is my friend. I know he is my friend because he comes to me in my backyard, from wherever it is that he hangs out, when I make chirpy noises to call him.
I think it is wonderful that he comes to me when I make chirpy noises. But my sons think it is weird. Not so much that Pinkie comes, but that their mother stands in the backyard, where neighbors may actually hear her, and makes chirpy noises at a bird who may or may not actually come just because she calls. They also think it is weird that their mother has named some random bird. For that reason, they have dubbed me “the crazy bird lady”. I am not in the least fazed or discouraged by my offspring’s assessment of my mental faculties. Pinkie is special, and I am loyal to my friends. So, I will keep calling him, conversing with him, and enjoying his antics for as long as he is willing to come back every fall and grace me with his presence.
Pinkie is an Anna’s hummingbird. According to All About Birds, which I just looked up. Coincidentally, when I looked up Pinkie’s species, I also discovered that because of his coloring, Pinkie is actually a male. Which came as a shock because I have always called him a her. But now I must think of him as a he. And I also had to go back and change all the pronouns in my two opening paragraphs, thank you very much.
How to Befriend a Hummingbird
To befriend a hummingbird, buy a hummingbird feeder, then go into the back yard and make a fool of yourself as often as possible. That second part is important because it allows the hummingbirds that come to feed an opportunity to become comfortable with your presence. Eventually they even become a little curious about your comings and goings. Pinkie has been known to hover right outside my kitchen window while I’m at the sink, or even hover by the glass windows near my backdoor when I am sitting at the kitchen table. He is looking for me, I know, so I reward him by immediately going outside to chat. My boys have an opinion on that behavioral response as well. Not that I care.
I once stood under the covered patio with camera in hand, looking to the northeast, waiting for a glimpse of Pinkie, when I heard wings fluttering behind me. I turned to see him hovering at face height, not two feet from me, before he dashed off. My Pinkie is a prankster.
The problem with hummingbird feeders, however, is that you have to fill them way more often than you would think. Not so much because of the hummingbirds, but because of all the other free loaders trying to get a piece of the food action. Meet Mr. Raspberry Finch. His wife, Mrs. Raspberry Finch, is just off picture, on the top of the back wall, waiting for him to move so she can get her turn. I am positive that they have educated family members on the location of their favorite local food bank, because I have seen multiples of these guys here at the same time.
But at least the raspberry finches are polite and discreet in their consumption. Not this dude! This Gila woodpecker is a little hog. And he is loud. Very uncouth. And you should witness his shameless attempts to misdirect attention from himself. He thinks he is being sneaky, but I see right through him. He casually glances to the left…
…then he fakes to the right…”I’ve got them all distracted now, they will never guess my intent,” he thinks to himself.
And then he pounces! This guy is actually not as big as some of the others. Some are so big and heavy that they tilt the feeder and spill nectar all over my landscaping rocks. I told you. Totally uncouth. Absolutely NO table manners!
I believe this is Mrs. Pinkie. She lets me get as close to her as he does. And more often than not, while I am photographing one half of this hummingbird couple, the other one comes zooming out of nowhere and pushes his or her partner to flight. They both take off like tiny dervishes and disappear in a zigzag of little bodies and fluttering wings, chirping their little metallic scoldings at each other. I just enjoy them so much!
No siding with my sons, now. Be nice!
Anyway, Mrs. Pinkie may not be as colorful a hummingbird as her ornate husband, but in this picture, I saw for the first time that her beak might actually be blue. Can you see it?
Pinkie, on the other hand, not only uses the prism effect in his feathers to turn his dark hood into the most deep and lovely fuchsia, but look at those metallic, emerald green back and tail feathers. Isn’t he just the dandy?
By the way, while I am engaged with my hummingbirds, little missy-miss, Lindsay, takes the opportunity to bask in the sun. She does not like the fall and winter months, which is when the hummingbirds are more plentiful while the warmth is less so. I got this picture of her one sunny but cool day when I was chatting Pinkie up.
But this morning it was cool and overcast, so my old man Jack had to stretch. The cold makes his hips and knees a little tight, so he needed to loosen them up some.
And here is his lovely “fuchsiasness” in full display.
Pinkie, perched on the tip of an orange twig, bathes in the western light of late afternoon, secure in the knowledge that he is all that and a bag of chips to this crazy bird lady.
Say bye-bye, Pinkie.