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Winter Persimmons

Hummingbird I was picking persimmons yesterday and noticed a hummingbird on another branch. She wasn't particularly bothered by me while I was on the ladder, 8 - 10 feet away, but when I climbed down to get my camera, she flew to another tree. (Coloration strongly hints she is a lady hummingbird.) Left, hummingbird in the adjacent tree. She is about as big as my thumb, if my thumb had feathers and a long beak. I don't know if she could suck down persimmon pulp or just thought it was a flower, but she looked like she was eating.
Persimmon tree in winter I looked around, saw several other birds also eating persimmons, and realized we had a 24-foot high self-filling bird feeder in our backyard. Food is tough to come by in January if you weigh less than three ounces, don't have an opposable thumb and can't go to the grocery store to buy plums air-freighted in from Chile. Left, our tree in the full glory of the setting sun.
Persimmon tree in winter So, I picked less. I left all the ones someone else had started to eat. Some years I have picked those and cut out the pecked part. This year I thought I'd be gracious. Life is hard enough without someone who outweighs you 1600 times taking your plate off the table before you have time to finish eating, so to speak. I left the ones I couldn't reach from the third step of the ladder, too, instead of climbing to the fourth step. That was partly being magnanimous to my fellow warm-blooded vertebrates, partly caution brought on by the memory of the last time I fell off a ladder. Left, vivid orange fruit against a late afternoon sky rapidly changing to indigo.
Western bluebird and persimmon There were some sort of yellow-bellied wrens, a small flock of chickadees, a mockingbird and a western bluebird in the tree while I picked the lower branches. I didn't take pictures of everyone. Left, western bluebird, not particularly afraid of 220-pound guy who is slower than he used to be.

[Written January 2012]

[This is one of my Miscellaneous Essays. There are more; you may enjoy another section of my web site, too:]

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