Sitting in my parent’s Florida room during a visit 10 years ago, I enjoy seeing all the birds that visit their yard. Their Citrus County home is in the middle of cattle ranches and the open farmland attracts turkey vultures, bluebirds and cattle egrets. My mom says, “You know what I’ve yet to see here? A ruby-throated hummingbird.” No sooner she said that, a ruby throated hummingbird flies into her flower garden and sips nectar from one of the red flowers blooming there. “There’s one,” I exclaimed with a laugh.
When I moved to Florida years later, I looked forward to attracting hummingbirds to my yard. To increase my chances I hung a hummingbird feeder outside my back window where I could delight in seeing these delicate little birds. Sure enough it wasn’t long before it attracted a hummingbird. “Great,” I thought, “I should be able to get nice photos of this.” But as the weeks went by, I didn’t see any hummingbirds around my feeder.
Yet, every morning, the nectar in the feeder was totally gone. So they must be coming to it. Are they coming early in the morning before I get up? I filled the feeder each night and by morning the sugary water was gone. One day, Anne reports that the feeder was knocked down and pulled apart. Then it dawns on me. Maybe there is something else at work here. Could it be a bobcat licking the feeder dry? Oh, maybe a coyote? A stray dog? Maybe it’s just a squirrel with a sweet tooth! I was so perplexed that I stayed up late and got up in the middle of the night, flicked on the backdoor light hoping to catch the culprit red-handed. I did this nearly every night.
But after weeks of diligence in trying to catch the criminal, I am resigned that I may never know what is robbing the hummingbirds of the nectar. The thief has not returned to the scene of the crime so I may never know who this beast is. I guess this will be an unsolved mystery for now.
Update: I wrote this blog weeks ago expecting that there would be an interesting ending, but put it on hold when nothing was happening. Well, I recently discovered why the feeder was empty of nectar in the morning and you will be as surprised as I was. I will post Part 2 to this story soon.