Sunday, May 28, 2006

hummingbird feeder : Ego Feeder

This morning I drove along Van Winkle where it intersects 900 East—the intersection named Best Intersection in Utah, according to City Weekly. As is usual this time of year, ducks and geese are in abundance, drawn to the ponds and creeks that run through that area. Also, as is usual this time of year, mother ducks and mother geese lead their younglings across those busy streets crossing from one water source to another. This morning two mother geese and more than a dozen chicks stopped six lanes of traffic on Van Winkle. Mercifully, they all made it across the street safely.

Soon, though, I’m going to see as I usually do, piles of feathers here and there. Throughout that area of Murray where I live, birds and waterfowl are abundant. Every morning I rise to honking geese and ducks making whoopee. Besides the green space at 9th and Van Winkle, the area is home to fowl-friendly Murray Park and Mick Riley Golf Course. Both Cottonwood Creeks wend their way through town lending food and protection for our feathered friends. There are lots of quail this year, too. The Callipepla californica, or California quail, I presume, known to perch on fences, visit gardens and bear the distinctive forward feather on its head.

Add to the quail, ducks and geese, multiple other birds like finches, robins, sparrows, starlings, flickers, magpies with the occasional small hawk, and it’s like living in an aviary. I only mention all of this because of Holly Mullen. I always read her column. Today she wrote about hummingbirds. A few weeks ago, she wrote about hummingbirds, too, because she hadn’t seen any yet. I e-mailed her that I’d just seen hummingbirds all over Hermosa Beach and not to worry as they’re on the way to Utah. I guess they arrived, because today Holly wrote about recently spotting one, apparently a Selasphorus platycercus, a broad tailed hummingbird. I feel sorry for Holly because she has to resort to a hummingbird feeder to attract those laws-of-physics-defying little buggers. So, Holly, if you ever follow-up on that lunch thing, I’ll bring you some trumpet vine starts and you won’t have to worry about the proper sugar-to-water ratio ever again.

Hummingbirds are nuts for trumpet vines. Outside of them crawling under my roof tiles and down my drain spouts, my own trumpet vines—one red, one yellow—are a yard favorite. When they’re in bloom, hummingbirds abound, along with bees of every kind. Hummingbirds are also nuts for the color red, which is why artificial feeders are always red. So attracted to red are they, that I’ve seen them fly up to a lit cigarette—not that I’d encourage that. And as students of the hummingbird—at least of the broad tailed variety—know, they tend to return to the same nesting tree year after year.

That tendency is called philopatry—need I remind, a Greek word—which roughly means love or fondness for father or homeland. Thus, when the hummingbirds come back to their legacy nest, they whisk over to my yard for a nip of some neighborhood trumpet-vine nectar. I do the same thing. I call it philolephrecauni—my tendency to return to the Leprechaun Inn night after night. I’ve also been known to practice philoportocalla, philobambaros, and philomurphais. As bartenders across the valley know, I’m nearly exclusively a practitioner of philoseagrams.

I’m philo for just about everything. Horses, for instance, the love of which gives us the name of Alexander the Great’s father—Phillip, the horse lover—who allowed his son to tame the wild Bucephalus. Thus, my affection today extends to the great steed Barbaro who snapped his ankle during the Preakness Stakes last weekend. Barbaro may or may not recover, and it’s possible they’ll put him down. If I were put down every time I broke something, I’d be dead about six times already. Last week, I had an X-ray and was told I broke my back once. Mercifully, I didn’t know about it and doubly so, I’m not a horse. I’m philo for lilacs, too. A grandmother thing.

One thing I am not is philoego. I’m rankled by people who fail to tame their egos. There’s nothing wrong in my book with having an ego, not even a large ego; for, lacking an ego, success would be an ideal, not an attainment. It’s the jerks who need full-time ego fulfillment or extravagant ego expression who ruin my day. The guy who climbed up on Delicate Arch comes to mind. The guy who sends troops to war with a half-baked plan comes to mind. The “altruistic” catch-and-release fisherman who wastes precious time posing with his fish comes to mind since the oxygen-starved fish usually dies. The Fox News pundit who measures worth by winning arguments comes to mind. The “clean my birdcage” mayor of Salt Lake City decidedly comes to mind.

Besides Holly’s paean to the colorful hummingbird, the same Salt Lake Tribune announced that Salt Lake City Coucil woman, Nancy Saxton has announced she is running for mayor in 2007. In a hummingbird world, such an announcement might be met with any number of graceful variants by an incumbent. Instead, Saxton was met with a typical Anderson rebuff: “She’s been a terrible City Council member, and she’d be a disastrous mayor,” he told the Tribune, and “all you ever see from Nancy is delay, inaction, indecisiveness and a fundamental meanness.” I concede his authority on “fundamental meanness” for if anyone knows that subject, he’s the guy. Watch—now he’ll run just for spite and to save our city from Nancy. Wanna bet a VO water he doesn’t have a hummingbird feeder?

Send Private Eye comments to john@slweekly.com.

1 Comments:

Blogger Spindrift said...

Hi, I was just wandering the blogosphere and here I am at your blog. I enjoy the style of how this all works.

This is one to watch.

Cheers,

birding binoculars

8:15 AM  

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