A Curious Thing

Huey Lewis got it straight – the power of love is a curious thing. In this case, a curious thing named Althea.

Althea Socks Octavia Hummingbird to be exact. That is her full given name. She is an Anna’s Hummingbird.

Althea flittered her way into my life in November 2018 on an unusually warm Friday afternoon. I was napping on my sofa with the door to my balcony open; the sun warming my face; it felt like summer.

Drifting off to sleep I heard high-pitched clicking sounds that seemed familiar, but out of place. I was home that afternoon because I needed a break… from everything.

I opened my eyes to see the silhouette of a hummingbird hovering in my doorway with the golden sun shining behind her as its little wings beat so fast they became a blur.

I sat up immediately and within a split second the hummingbird was gone. It was then that I went, as they say, crazy! I couldn’t believe my eyes. As a birder with a particular fondness for hummingbirds, I was ecstatic. My heart was beating fast, and I might have jumped up and down. I called my mum and she was just as excited.

The next day I picked up a hummingbird feeder, filled it with homemade food, and stuck it on my patio door outside.

For the last five months, Althea has dropped by to eat, sometimes to sit and relax, and sometimes to shoo away Omar, a male Anna’s Hummingbird, who tried to take up residence on my balcony. Not on Althea’s watch. She is so not into him. She lets him eat once in a while but he’s not allowed to overstay his welcome. I did get a second feeder to try and help out the little guy.

We had a cold snap in February and on the weekends, Althea would stay eight or nine hours on my balcony out of the snow. She loves sitting on my tomato cage and I added a few branches in my planters for her to perch on. She would eat, nap, groom, and flit about. She seemed to especially like it when I did laundry because the dryer vents to the outside and she would sit in the path of warm air.

I was (and still am) grateful for Althea staying here and keeping me company for so many hours and days and months.

The last year (actually the last five years if I’m counting) was bad, really bad. I’ll save ‘why’ for another post. It’s amazing how this little creature helped me so much over these months.

I’ve always been an animal lover and have raised a few cats and dogs and started birding a few years ago. Never did I imagine the people I would meet, the places I would go, the opportunities that would come about, all because of birds.

I count myself very lucky to have Althea in my life. Her personality and mannerisms are unique to her. She’s unafraid, outspoken, and curious. I look forward to seeing her every day. I hadn’t seen her at all over the past week and was very worried, but there she was tonight; just when I needed her. That’s the power of love.

If you’re interested in looking at my bird photos (including those of Althea), check out @altheahummingbird_and_friends on IG.

This is she:


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