October 3, 2020 / VOLUME NO. 125
A Tiny Source of Inspiration

At my house, spring doesn’t truly begin until the hummingbirds arrive.

They first appear in April, and through the spring and summer my husband spends a couple mornings every week making a simple syrup of organic sugar and water — no red-dyed commercial nectar for our tiny, winged visitors.

Looking outside and seeing these graceful, yet voracious little birds reminds us that they’re worth the effort.

“... [I]t throws itself through the air with a swiftness and vivacity hardly conceivable,” wrote naturalist John James Audubon of the ruby-throated hummingbird. “It moves from one flower to another like a gleam of light, upwards, downwards, to the right, and to the left. In this manner, it searches the extreme northern portions of our country, following with great precaution the advances of the season, and retreats with equal care at the approach of autumn.”

Like any good visitor, hummingbirds don’t overstay their welcome. They make their way to Mexico and Central America in September and October.

As the pandemic and recession have continued over the past seven months, I can’t help being inspired by these tiny powerhouses.

Right now, ruby-throated hummingbirds can be found feasting on nectar and insects, doubling in weight to prepare for a 500-mile trek across the Gulf of Mexico. Even in favorable conditions, it’s a journey that will take up to 20 hours. Many won’t survive.

“... [N]ot all of them pass this harshest of tests,” says hummingbird bander Lanny Chambers. “The ones that don't add enough fat won't make it, and their genes aren't passed on; that's how nature works.”

Ruby-throated hummingbirds weigh just a tenth of an ounce. Yet despite their size, they display an amazing capacity for perseverance.

Emily McCormick, vice president of research of Bank Director
/ ideas, insights and perspectives on BankDirector.com
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