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Hummingbird Magic

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Every festival has its clientele. I've worked a few birding and nature festivals, and there's a slightly different cut of people at each one.
I really liked the people I met at the Sedona Hummingbird Festival in early August. There was a kind of magic about them. And why not? The little beasts they hold so dear are magic themselves. 

This is Beth Kingsley Hawkins, artist, photographer, writer and all-around awesome spirit. She and her husband Ross are why I was there. They founded The Hummingbird Society, a conservation organization directed at hummingbirds alone, and the festival followed. 

Years ago, when the kids were little, Beth and Ross came to visit. We were going around my then very modest gardens, and we watched a ruby-throated hummingbird apparently feeding at my Peace rose, slipping its bill between each of the huge tea rose's petals.

Well, we knew it couldn't be getting nectar that way. Or anywhere on a tea rose. When the hummingbird left, we parted the petals and found a beautiful pool of rainwater cradled inside each petal. The bird had been drinking.
How does a hummingbird know it can drink water that way? 
A hummingbird knows flowers.

This is Deandra. She and I were friends from Hello. I had the honor of sitting with her at dinner and the conversation never flagged. She is simply fascinating, one of those people you wish you could propagate, take a cutting, make more. 

I went through my images and found some that capture just a touch of what hummingbirds are all about. 

Black-chin in corkscrew willow

Black-chins in trumpetvine...

Flying sideways, of course, why not if you can?

Eyeing a honeybee...

and diving for sweet nectar

the bee in hot pursuit.

Hummingbirds, briefly contained...what a concept, corralling a hummingbird...

The large but incredibly deft and gentle hands of Lanny Chambers, a furious tiny throbbing life in his fingers.

Processed and ready to go, they lie unbelieving for a few moments...

and eager fingers get the chance to touch lightning, something they will likely never have a chance to do again

and then it's time to let him fly.

But sometimes they lie, shellshocked, and don't believe they're free. This Anna's lay still on an eager palm.

They've had quite enough of the touch of strange fingers and hands, so Lanny rouses them back to the real world by blowing gently on them. Wind! Hummingbirds know wind.


I'm charmed by the experience, this big gentle man with a way with tiny birds, and the people who've come to see them. 


Wonderful, magical series of posts. Sedona sounds like a very special place in many ways - people, place, hummingbirds! These posts motivated me to search for and reread your "A Tale of Three Pendants" post. Your necklaces in the current photos triggered the memory. Your words are a gift and they "stick." Kim in PA

My favorite sentence in the article, "one of those people you wish you could propagate, take a cutting, make more." I love reading your posts because you have such a gift, a special way of describing your experiences that make them memorable as well as educational. I'm sure you made those ladies feel as special as they are.

You devil, you. You FORCED me to fall in love with Sedona. I was already in love with hummingbirds. My last broadtail stopped for a breakfast drink 3 days ago, missing our flower-killing frosts by only a few days.

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