Every spring, Robert and Arlene anticipate the arrival of the ruby-throated hummingbirds to their mountain home. They observe in awe as these tiny beings nest and feed and hover and swoop around their wooded land. But with autumn closing in, the ruby-throats recently bid farewell to their Linden, Virginia, residence and have begun their long migration south. This is a poem written by Robert and inspired by his and Arlene’s very favorite guests.
The Hummingbirds by Robert FosterIt’s amazing to me that they travel so far Feisty and noisy and small that they are Emerald and ruby just buzzing about A pause and a sip with a curious shout In spring when they come, so tired and wan In fall when they leave it’s so quiet at dawn Longing and left, the silence pervading I’d smile once again at your raucous invading I’m left here alone at the break of the day No tweets of good morning to light up my way Color and humming recede to the last Departure your sign, that the summer has past This time of year as the fall will descend With a hitch in my throat, just to see you again Saddened and hoping you’re safe on your flight I pause with a sigh as I’m left without sight Who would’ve thought such a small little bird Would cause such a break when no longer it’s heard Wishing and praying won’t lengthen your stay But oh how I wish to have just one more day
The ruby-throated hummingbird is one of the most delightful visitors to our gardens. They eat tiny insects and draw nectar from a variety of flowers — most of which are red and tubular. In the Mid-Atlantic, some of the best native choices are eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), scarlet bee balm (Monarda didyma), trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) and jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).
Read more about our amazing hummingbirds on Audubon.