John's Amazing Hummer Helmet
This ingenious headgear gives a whole new dimension to bird watching
It all began with an orange tree in the backyard. You don't find too many orange trees in North Randolph, and this one was actually some type of sapling, perhaps maple, on which my brother had stuck a bunch of orange slices. The fruit was supposed to attract orioles, if I remember correctly. Notice the little hummingbird feeder dangling from a branch on the left.
The orange tree worked—orioles came—and the next time I went to visit my brother, he showed me his new hummingbird helmet. You can see it in the photo at the top of this post, although John's left hand is blocking the view of the second feeder. Yes, this is a two-feeder helmet. For symmetry, I suppose, and also in case a couple of hummingbirds want to feed simultaneously.
I thought my brother had invented this contraption, but I later googled "hummingbird feeder helmet" and up popped a number of different models. The eye2eye mask sells through a British website for 49 pounds. John's is made from common household items—a bicycle helmet, wire coat hangers, adhesive tape, Christmas baubles, and a couple of store-bought sugar-water dispensers. The big question was, would it work? I was skeptical, as you can perhaps sense from the following video, where he is explaining what I should do in order to test it.
Well, I tried, and almost immediately there was a big clap of thunder and the sky turned dark and we all scurried inside the house.
A few days later, I left on a long trip. I missed my brother and his girlfriend, Jill, and their home-cooking, but to be honest, I didn't give the hummer helmet a lot of thought. Then Jill posted a video on my Facebook page. The caption read, "Success!" Here are some stills from the video.
The approach. Will he go for it, or not?
Getting closer . . .
Alighting . . .
"Did you see that?"
Now, you may think this is just a lot of silliness, but I gotta say, I admire the ingenuity, the science, the love of nature, and the perseverance that went into this experiment. So hats off to you, little brother! I look forward to more bird-watching adventures.