Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The hummingbird calendar

Hummingbird Hovering Among Red Flowering Currants, Washington

I’ve been thinking about how over the past year it seems we’ve gone back in time. Like really far back.

I spent most of my time within just a few miles of my home. And there are many days I don’t leave at all. But what really struck me was how I now notice the passing of time.

I live in Washington state where the Covid lockdown orders began one year ago. My family falls into the high-risk category, so by that point, I already wasn’t traveling much. But now I wasn’t leaving at all.

My first home-based photography project involved standing near the front door, photographing hummingbirds that fed on the red flowering currants that surrounded the deck. They became part of new routine. For photography purposes, the light on the flowers was best in late afternoon, so every day at 4:30 I made an appointment with the hummingbirds.

The quarantine wasn’t the first time I had photographed hummingbirds in my yard. I had photographed them over several years and in every season, but never day after day. Rather than being boring, I found this exercise fascinating.

I began to learn their habits. I saw that they would feed for a couple of minutes and then take a breather in a favorite perching tree. I saw that more often than not, they would work the patch of flowers in a counter-clockwise route.

While I had photographed hummingbirds in my yard before, I had created my strongest images during the first few weeks of quarantine.

This inspired a new effort to really get to know the property and the animals that rely on it. A month in, I already had a good portfolio of new images. As the year went on, I discovered dozens more species that made use of my yard.

This past week, the hummingbirds returned to the flowering currants. Even without the news reports reminding me of the Covid anniversary, I knew it had been a year. But thanks to the hummingbirds, it’s a reminder not of what I have lost, but what I have found.

Hummingbird Feeding on Red Flowering Currants, Washington
Hummingbird Feeding on Red Flowering Currants, Washington

(Follow Kevin Ebi's photography on Facebook or Instagram. Prints of his images are available through

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