Fiction by Amy Welborn
Hummingbirds hum, yes, but why? I'd not grasped that it was their crazily oscillating wings that did it until we got the feeder up last year. Now I know. I hear them every day, every evening, whipping air into sound, dive bombing past my head in the dusk.
Also a surprise: incessant warfare and chirping. I watch videos of other hummingbirds in other places, and they're co-existing, clustered around feeders or even sipping nectar out of human hands. It's charming. But it's not my life. My hummingbirds are vicious little bastards. As soon as one enters the scene and floats within sight of the feeder, in rushes another, enraged, infuriated and then there's a chase, and quite often a crash. Impossible as it seems, I can actually hear that impact, the ridiculous little thud that sends them reeling and chirping. Humming.
This is happening now – three are out there, engaged, taunting and testing – but it's on the other side of this kitchen window, and I'm here on this side, clutching an egg. A chicken egg. I wonder, as I often do, when these hummingbirds manage to eat anything. The level of the nectar recedes day by day, but I hardly ever see a bird rest long enough to consume any of it. All they do, it seems, is fight.