This is my hand leaning out of the dining room window in Constantia. My mom had called me to say that a sunbird had become trapped between the sash windows, where the up meets the down and makes a glassy crevasse, unfathomable to a bird trying to escape the clear prison. The sunbirds seem attracted to their reflections in the windows, fly in, and become stuck on their way out.
Enter the humans.
This bird (now in my mom's hand) was dazed and shocked and we wanted to remove him as gently as possible to the garden. I forget which of us carried him from the other's hand and put him gently beside the bird bath, but I do remember dripping a drop of sugared water into his beak before we moved from the window.
In the cool of the garden, near the honeysuckle, he perked up, and flew away.
Vince and I had breakfast every morning on the brick patio under a striped awning against the hot sun. Jasmine, roses, aloes, succulents and fuchsias share the collection of pots. All of these provide the sunbirds with nectar or miniature insects, which the small birds also feed on. A feeder nearby attracts them too, and sometimes butterflies, and it was a delight to sit and sip coffee and watch the delicate aerial shows put on by the pretty birds.
I miss their distinctive high voices singing rapid arpeggios, and their un-shy habit of darting to the ruby-flowered fuchsia at the end of the dining table, to hang upside down and drink from its tiny cup.