Lying in Wait

One afternoon I went out to change the hummingbird feeders which hang up outside our back screen porch. As I started to reach across the rose bush branches to replace the bottles, I saw it. Stretched out and wrapped in neatly among the stems, lay a non-venomous gray ratsnake.

I immediately jumped back, and may or may not have let out a startled scream. As I studied the situation, a little hummingbird came and landed on a branch a few inches from the snake’s mouth. Then it hit me. This snake, which is handy to have around because it kills rodents, was probably also after the hummingbirds.

I was hoping that the snake would be scared by my presence and slither away. But it remained motionless and resolute. My husband came out and encourage him to move on.

I hoped that that would be the end of his hiding on the branches near the feeders. But the next evening, there the snake sat again. As I mulled it over during the night, I realized what I had to do. So early the next morning before the hummingbirds showed up, I went out and cut back the branches of the rose bushes which provided the snake a place to lie in wait.

This turned out to be an unpopular decision with the hummingbirds, who lost their favorite branches to perch on and guard the nearby feeders. And I do miss having a front row seat from my rocker inside the screen porch. Now after getting a drink from the feeders, they tend to fly away to bushes further out in the yard. But still, the more I think about it, the more I know it was the right choice for the hummingbirds’ survival.

I’m pretty sure that I now know why the cardinal eggs disappeared from their nest at the end of the porch a couple of weeks ago.

“Decisions are the hardest move to make, especially when it’s a choice between what you want and what is right.” ~Unknown

Around the feeders

Ruby-throated hummingbirds around the feeders at the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center – Big Sandy.

 

Occasionally, you would also see them resting on small branches overlooking the Tennessee River.

“It is not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.”  ~Tolkien

Hanging out around the feeder

A few photos of female ruby-throated hummingbirds hanging out around a feeder at Big Sandy Unit Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge.

“Have you ever observed a humming-bird moving about in an aerial dance among the flowers – a living prismatic gem … it is a creature of such fairy-like loveliness as to mock all description.”  ~W.H. Hudson

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

“While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary.”  Matt Bevin

Female Ruby-throated hummingbird

It’s been quiet in our backyard since the hummingbirds headed south for the winter, with their flurry of activity being sorely missed.  Here are a few photos taken shortly before they headed out.

“Goodbye?  Oh no, please.  Can’t we go back to page one and do it all over again?”  ~Winnie the Pooh

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

… God has blessed all beauties of Nature;
He’s set His approval and seal
On all of His small, winged messengers
That fly through the air with such zeal.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

This Ruby-throated hummingbird looked content sitting on his perch in one of the bushes in our backyard.  He would dart away to chase another hummingbird or get a drink from the feeder, but would soon return to his lookout on the same small branch.

“Living big and joyful and content is almost always the result of our finding satisfaction in life’s ordinary day-to-day pleasures …”  ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.