Monday, May 22, 2006

The Winged Avenger

Norma was talking about her obsession with hummingbirds and it brought to mind two things:

#1. My high school biology teacher, Mr. F. He was a big bear of a man with a dark hair and a wooly beard. In the tradition of all biology teachers he was always just a little unkempt in a charming way. He was a great teacher and always told us these fantastical stories, that we weren't sure whether to believe or not. Because of him, I graduated from university with a Biology degree.

It is also because of him that I will never forget:
a.) The classification of living things - Kingdom, Phyllum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species - he had us say them as fast as we could and held contests

b.) Dinoflagellates

c.) Hummingbirds - until I met Mr. F., I had never heard a grown man speak with such amazement and zeal about hummingbirds. He and his family had hummingbird feeders in their back yard. If you could get him on the topic of hummingbirds you would be guaranteed at least 15 minutes of entertainment as he described their territorial turf wars, their unbelievable ability to hang in mid-air... and his brief moment of eye-to-eye contact with one as he mistakenly stepped into its path. He would mimic the noise of them zipping around his back yard with such earnest joy that you couldn't help but get wrapped up in his stories. The funny thing? An entire class of 17-year-olds sat still and listened when he told us that story.

#2. The summer we were host to what looked like a tiny baby hummingbird at our cottage.

The family was all gathered in the main room of the cottage at the lake. Some were playing cards, others were sitting on the sofas, talking and telling stories. I don't remember why we were all inside, perhaps it had been raining? or it was getting cool as it was early evening? I'm not sure, but suddenly we all looked out and saw a tiny humming bird on the flowers outside.

I grabbed the camera and headed for the door. My mother said, "You'll never get a photo, they're too fast."

I think I said that I'd at least try. Ten minutes of sitting quietly on the deck and these were the results:

winged avenger2

He seemed tired, and when he stopped to rest, we realized that he must have been just a baby:

winged avenger3

Here he is, resting in a tree. I decided to call him the "Winged Avenger" when this photo came back from the developers:

winged avenger1



  1. Wow! Those are amazing photos, and he clearly IS just a baby. So cute!

  2. Very sweet. We get hummingbirds in our backyard. We put out those feeders with the sugary water and we get one or two a day.

  3. Hummingbirds in general are cute, but a BABY hummingbird? That's cute inverse logged (i.e, to the power of 10).

    Did I see on your flickr that clapotis is officially an FO?!

  4. Ahhh... Hummers are so interesting, mine come back every year. They will scold me if the feeder is not out when they arrive around mid-May. I never get more than two at a time 'cus as Norma says the little buggers fight. They sometimes will rest on my clothes line between sips. Great photos.

  5. Stunning photos Steph...I am still in awe of your creative skillz, babe. Knitting, writing, photography, music, baking? You're one talented lady.