The novel feature this year is the hummingbird I called Pudge. He (I'll call him he, but who knows) spent the better part of a month doing very little besides perching for hours on the clothesline near this feeder. The way he was perched made him seem rather pudgy for a hummingbird, though he's either lost that now or it was an optical illusion. Optical illusions are frequent with hummingbirds, particularly their iridescent greens and reds that seem to flash in and out of existence.
We've had hummers perch on the clothesline before but never with the frequency or the apparent lethargy of Pudge. Still, even though he stayed there for hours, I could never get close enough to him to take a decent photo. He may well have been guarding his access to the feeder, and he was certainly chowing down. So I put a second, larger feeder up, farther down the porch. This did not seem to dismay him. He just changed his usual position on the line to midway between the two feeders, presumably so he could keep his eye on both.
Lately he's less of a fixture there, though he does hang around for days at a time, and then disappears for days, seemingly. Another hummer of his species also comes to the feeder--she (I imagined) seemed slimmer and smaller. But now I can't tell them apart (though I have seen them at the same time, so I know there are still two.) It has occurred to me that Pudge is female, was pregnant and has since given birth, but any evidence of an offspring is yet to be seen.
Earlier this week when I sat outside to read, I noticed that one of the hummers came to perch in some nearby bamboo, and then moved to perch even closer to me. It seemed quite deliberate. I'd guessed from an experience a few years ago (after being away for awhile, I was buzzed by a hummer who hovered directly in front of me and seemed to look me sternly in the eyes) that hummers recognize the person who feeds them, and I've since read that this is so. They also remember all their usual flower locations, and even at which intervals it pays to visit them.
As if to confirm this, the hummer in the bamboo made sure I'd noticed its presence, and then zipped directly to a feeder, fed for awhile, and zipped back. I've noticed similar behavior with Pema the cat--she patiently leads me to her dish when she wants it filled. Apparently they worry that scatterbrained humans will forget the correct sequence.
As for Pema, she was of no interest to the hummers when she went outside, nor was she interested in them. But since a scary and surprising bout with fleas early in the spring which resulted in serious illness, she doesn't go outside anymore (and doesn't seem to care.) She'd stopped eating and drinking water, so we had to take her to the vet. Getting her into the carrier may have injured her pride, but left both of us bloodied. The vet said there had been a recent rash of flea problems, resistant to most remedies. But finally one worked, and she seems fine.
Otherwise, Pema has forgotten how to sit on laps, which she had finally learned after several years. On the other hand, she loves being brushed, and now has a complete routine she expects, or demands. I think life for her is a constant tension between what she clearly understands as the rules and benefits of domesticity, and the instincts and fears honed by her early feral life.