I was sitting on the screen porch in the soft gray light of an overcast day just before dawn. It was too early to put on my glasses - I mostly like to sit and listen to the birds and squirrels. There were Chickadees and Tufted Titmice, the wake-up calls of crows, a porcupine's adorable chittering, and a Northern Flicker had a lot to say as he flitted through the trees.

And then there was a buzzing hum. Could it be? Yes! A hummingbird was at the feeder, drinking deeply, before flying off. I keep thinking, well, that's got to be the last hummingbird of the summer. And maybe it was this one.

Our son gave us a hummingbird feeder for Christmas last year. It obviously had to sit on a shelf for a while. We finally got a stand to hang it from and mounted it on the porch. I found a recipe for hummingbird food (1/4 cup refined sugar and 1 cup of water, boiled thoroughly) and got it filled.

Much to our delight, the first hummingbird showed up at the feeder within an hour. She actually stood on the little perch and drank and drank and drank. There were actually little bubbles gurgling up the reservoir. As the summer went on, there were hummingbirds all through the day. We saw the females more often at dawn and dusk while the males came in during full light, often diving at each other to defend "their" feeder, even though there were plenty of feeding spots for all of them.

They really are impossibly tiny - just a tad bigger than the big double-winged dragon flies we get around here.

And then one day, there were none. Migration season had begun and we thought that was it. But in the next days, we have seen a few at dawn and dusk. In the morning, there has been less food, so something has been feeding at night. Perhaps there's still a few local hummers around, but we're probably seeing Hummingbirds from farther north, happy to find a full feeder on their long trek south.

Soon, we'll need to take the feeder down for the winter, with just memories of these fierce flying jewels to carry us through to Spring.