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There are lots of hummingbirds in the mountains. I’ve had a fascination with hummingbirds a long time. Not really since I was a kid, but it started was about 18. I can remember the day.

It was the first day I came to Colorado to watch the Red Zinger Classic. I was staying at the KOA campground in Boulder and was going to ride the complete Boulder Mountain Road Race course the first day. That course leaves Boulder, heads up Coal Creek Canyon, up to Nederland, then Ward, down to Lyons and back to Boulder. It is 93 miles I believe. It was a big ride for me.

Anyway, I obviously wasn’t acclimated, but I had a enormous amount of enthusiasm. Climbing up Coal Creek Canyon is pretty hard for a boy from Kansas. At least it was then, I’d probably be better now. Anyway, I was riding alone and was loving it. The towns of Wonderview, Nederland and Ward were really super small, nearly primitive. By the time I got through Nederland, up to Ward, I was hurting and decided to stop and get some water.

I’m not sure if I stopped at a small store or restaurant, and I can’t imagine what I would have bought to drink, it might have been Gatorade. While I was sitting there, I started cramping in one of my legs. I keep drinking water and then it really started. I was cramping everywhere. Arms, neck, back legs, everything. I must of been a sight sitting there.

As I was trying to keep the cramps in control, somewhat, I noticed that there were some hummingbirds flying around, the store had feeders hung. I must of been pretty out of it because when I looked around there were hummingbirds everywhere. They were unreal, super aggressive towards each other and very agile in flight.

It was like aerial combat. Beautiful. The speed and control they have is amazing. Their ability to stand still in air, just hover, was mesmerizing. I sat there close to an hour, letting the cramps leave my body, but also falling in love with these amazing creatures. I’ve had this love affair ever since.

Watch Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air on PBS. See more from Nature.

4 thoughts on “Hummingbirds

  1. StreetUrchin

    My parents live in Estes Park and the other day a hummingbird ran into their front glass door. My Mom and niece were able to hold it while it was dazed. Then it flew away. A pretty cool moment for both of them. Tip: Be careful wearing a red helmet when MTB in Co, the hummingbirds might think you are food.

  2. Formerly Jim

    When we moved to this house we had 3 feeders around the house, the hummers chased each other around and around, you could see them go around from window to window.

    As I type this a big hummer is sitting inside on the blinds, having tired himself out. He’s been flying at the ceiling for about 15 minutes and has good stamina as he’s large. Occasionally we will try to corral him out the open door but he’ll only batter himself against the ceiling. My wife is worried and thinks he is in his torpor, sitting on the upper blind with his chest against the window staring out.

    There are a few others outside chasing each other away from the feeder now.

    More than a few times one has hovered by my face and stared directly at me. You think he’s going to go nuts and spear you in the eye. I will post back later regarding the outcome of the torporific guy.

  3. Formerly Jim

    Okay, my wife was right – the hummer was in a torpor. I wanted to let him rest before he exhausted himself to death.

    After awhile I picked him up with a rag and he acquiesced very easily. Turning him upside down his little black eye was staring at me. You could see irregular black spots under his chin and on his neck. His feet were covered in cobwebs from my dusty blinds. Holding him for a little bit he was very calm but I could feel the rag heat up rapidly from his body hit, very cool.

    I put him outside on the porch, standing. As soon as I let go he flew off, only to be met by another hummer 20 ft. from my house. They flew off together, either battling or talking, I couldn’t tell.

  4. RA

    Prime time for Hummingbird viewing as this is their migration period. Apparently they are severely effected by the drought conditions this year so folks with feeders should see more than usual due to fewer natural water/ food sources.


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