The Hummingbird watched from his perch in the nearby willow tree. He didn’t dare wander too far away for fear of another Hummer entering his territory. What is his territory, you asked? Well, as far as I can tell his territory is a large area of our backyard with the sugar-water feeder right in the center. If a rival Hummingbird is fifty feet away from the feeder it is safe. If forty feet, maybe not so safe. The Hummer must protect the sweet nectar in the feeder. After all, he was the first to find it. Like an 1849 California gold miner, the bird had staked his claim. It is his. Keep out, no trespassing.

From his perch in the willow the Hummingbird sees a flying object dart quickly into his guarded area, he snaps to attention. False alarm, it was a dragonfly coming in to investigate our goldfish pond. “Lucky you are a dragonfly and not another Hummer” the Hummingbird thought to himself. “I would have shown you who owns this feeder.”

By mid-morning a few other Hummers had headed toward the feeder, but quickly turned away when the self appointed owner of the feeder made his presence known. When an unwelcome bird entered the claimed area the Hummingbird would make a dive at the trespasser and the dispute would be instantly resolved. “I have defended my area quite nobly this beautiful morning,” was the only thought in the birds tiny brain at that time. “No other Hummingbird will ever take this feeder from me. I will never leave this area.”

Several more times that day the Hummingbird defended his feeder from other Hummers. Sometimes all he had to do was make a token dive in the direction of the trespasser, and other times he had to be more forceful, chasing the violator all the way out of the neighborhood. As the day dissolved into night, the Hummingbird fell asleep on his perch in the willow tree. As he slept he dreamed, yes his smallest of small brain was capable of giant dreams. In this nights giant dream he was not just a hummingbird, but a pilot flying a World War I Biplane. A Sopwith Camel. He was firing the Camels twin machine guns at a trespassing Hummer flying a red tri-winged airplane, just like the famous Red Barron flew. The Sopwith Camel was right on the tail of the red tri-winged plane. With guns blazing, the Camel pursued the Red Barron. Red went right, the Camel went right. Red went up, Camel went up. Red dives down and behind a mountain peak, the Sopwith Camel is right on his tail. The Hummingbird was happy in his dream. He was defending his territory.

I looked out the sunroom window at 6:15 the next morning. The Hummingbird was again perched on a small branch of the willow tree. Fragments of his dream were still echoing in his feathered head. The dream fragments made him feel confident. There were not many trespassers on this day, and even fewer the next. By weeks end there were no more trespassing Hummingbirds. The feeder was all his. He had chased them all away. Occasionally I wondered where the other Hummers went. I think the tiny bird would sit on his perch in the willow tree and wonder the same thing.

A couple of days later I found out where the others went. In a field about a mile from our home I saw them. I took a longer walk that day than I usually do, I walked to a field that was near a dirt road. On the far side of the field was a large wooded area. In the middle of the field was a pond, its water was as clear as a diamond. The small ripples on the ponds surface sparkled like diamonds too. Surrounding the pond was acres and acres of flowers, beautiful wildflowers. I could smell them as I got closer to the field. I had never see so many different kinds of wildflowers. There was Queen Anne’s lace, Purple Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, and Morning Glories. There were wild Daisies, Blue Phlox, and Hollyhocks, and many more. And each one with nectar as sweet as Crimson Clover honey. And guess what? There were dozens, dare I say hundreds, of hummingbirds enjoying the richness of the wildflowers. I walked into the middle of the field and watched and listened. The air felt so fresh, like it does after a Spring rain, but the sky was completely clear. As clear as the diamond pond, with its sparkling surface. The buzzing of the Hummers wings turned into a song in my head, and then into a symphony. “Symphony For The Wildflowers” I called it. The Hummingbirds rushed from one flower to another, and then back again, as if trying to decide which one held the sweetest nectar. There was plenty for all.

After a short while I walked back home. I again looked out the sunroom windows. There on the willow branch was perched the same Hummingbird as in days past. He had the feeder all to himself now. “I have won the battle,” his little brain told him. But only I, and the Hummingbirds at the diamond pond, knew that he had lost the War.