We have had two humming bird feeders up most of the summer, but haven't seen very many little hummers. This morning when I went out to do some yard work I noticed that one of the feeding bottles was unexpectedly empty. I made up some hummer food by putting sugar in hot water. When I went out to fill the bottle I was suddenly surrounded. As I stood on the deck table with the feeder still in my hand, humming birds buzzed all around me, some only inches from my head and hands. There were several kinds; some with white thoats and rust colored breasts, some with shiny dark green necks, and some with bright red tail feathers. I stood and watched, fascinated, as they stuck their long soda-straw beaks into the feeders and stuck out their tiny tongues to lap up sticky stuff just inches from my eyes. I carefully filled the empty bottle with fresh food. One bird immediately stuck his beak in the mixture, then suddenly withdrew and shook his head. The water was still hot! I backed away and let the feeder hang for a few minutes, but as the birds came and went I began to worry about what would happen if the birdies burned their tongues, so rushed to put the feeder in the refridgerator until it cooled. Had I killed them with (intended) kindness? When the sun was fully up, the birds all disappeared and I worried until the day began to cool and they returned like a squadron of tiny attack helicopters. It appears all is well, but a hummer with a burned tongue must certainly be as awful as an elephant with a runny nose.
BTW: A lady at the office told me about a little boy who was learning to read. He kept talking about a freakin' elephant. Shocked, the teacher hurried to check the book. Sure enough, it WAS about African elephants.