By Marcia E. Gawecki

It’s not just the snow on the ground in wintertime that causes wildlife to reach out to us. Maybe it’s the cold.

I was visiting my Mom who lives near Menifee and had to get my car fixed. We were up early. She was making coffee, while I sat at the table trying to wake up when I noticed there was a hummingbird hovering just outside her kitchen window.

It flew above the wire on her potted tomato plant, and then darted back and forth. It seemed like it vying for attention. I always love watching the hummingbirds at my Mom’s place because they stick around all year. Hummingbirds leave Idyllwild when the winter comes, but return in the spring. There’s one local woman who heads a group that catches, bands and records our hummingbirds. (More on her in a later blog.)

When I opened my Mom’s back door to discard some recycling, the hummingbird fluttered over the doorway. You can always hear them coming, they sound like small helicopters.

“Look! It’s the same hummingbird!” I shouted to my Mom, and then realized this was more than just a friendly hello. “Mom, where is your hummingbird feeder?”

“It’s still down, next to the sink,” she said. “I haven’t had a chance to fill it yet.”

I calculated that it had been down for several days before Christmas. Since my Mom is short (and shrinking, she says), I take down the feeder from the hook.

I immediately grabbed a small pan and filled it with one cup of sugar and water, and put it on the stove to dissolve.

“Why are you doing that now?” Mom asked. “You’ll be late for your car appointment.”

“It will only take a second,” I reasoned. My mother didn’t understand that you couldn’t ignore those hummingbird signs. Those poor babies were HUNGRY.

Yet, how did they know that I would feed them? Could they tell by my clothes that I lived in Idyllwild and fed my own hummingbirds? Perhaps they’ve been calling to and fluttering around my Mom for days, and she didn’t see the signs. I made a mental note to follow up on the hummingbird feeder whenever I took it down for her.

So birds, squirrels, and other small wildlife need our help in the wintertime when food is scarce and they’re relying on us to fill in the gaps. It can be in Idyllwild, Menifee or Poughkeepsie.

Copyright 2010 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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