A couple of days ago, I stepped onto the back porch, and was addressed by a hummingbird declaring that I needed to fill the feeder.  I looked over and saw that the feeder still had enough food for 2-3 days, and I was in a hurry, as always, so went about whatever I was doing.

This morning, I decided to empty and refill the feeder.  The weather had been cool, and there had been a lot of rain, so I wondered if the food wasn’t good any longer.  There are times when I need to listen better to my dogs (yes, it goes both ways) and this time I had a feeling that I should have listened better to that little hummingbird.  Surely enough, there was mildew in the feeder area and mold growing inside the glass.  This year, I have only put out one feeder, the one that they prefer, and it is a pain to clean when mold grows inside the glass container.  We have one feeder that I thought they would really like.  The entire top is a red, dish-shaped cover that has a rim around the edge for seating.  The flowers are molded into the top, and the dish area that contains the feed is like a small sombrero-shaped salad dish.  They have a preference for the other feeder.  (How hummingbirds are not like Newfoundlands, because Newfs don’t care what their food dish looks like as long as the contents are good.)  This is a common failure in humans in understanding other species.  My husband does this with the cows.  They convey that they want to move to another pasture with different grass, he says “But they have plenty of grass in this pasture,” then he recollects the ones that have learned to jump like gazelles when they quit waiting for him to let them move.  (The grass IS always greener than the pasture you are in if you are a cow, but it all looks the same to a human.)

After cleaning the feeder, I took it outside to fill it with fresh food, so a spill wouldn’t need to be cleaned.  One little bird couldn’t wait long enough for me to finish filling, so he tried to drink as I filled.  (How Newfoundlands are like hummingbirds.)  He finally got spooked because I kept moving the feeder, and he flew to a nearby branch to wait, but not patiently.  (How hummingbirds can be like Newfoundlands, patience-challenged when food is involved.)  If this hummingbird had been a Newf, I could hear a forced, exasperated “Phffft!” as he waited, almost patiently.  If I could tell one hummingbird from another, I would name this one Shelby, after a little patience-challenged Newfoundland who now has her wings.

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