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Hummingbirds flock to Wilhelm's feeders

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By Panzi Blackwell

Sharon Wilhelm enjoys the tranquility of sitting on her front porch in the evenings, watching the many hummingbirds flock to  her feeders, and hearing the constant whirring of their wings as they fly about.

The surrounding, scenic, view is also comforting and remindful of pleasant memories, as she was born and lived in a house in the woods nearby, until her father built the present house when she was 4 years old.

Meet Sharon as she shares her enjoyment of the hummingbirds and some of her childhood memories of her rural Brownstown home.

The Hummingbirds…

Sharon said she mixes one part sugar in four parts water, just warm enough to dissolve the sugar. She has been feeding and observing them for eight years, since they began coming a few at a time.

“My husband, Marty, was back here squirrel hunting one fall, and there are jewel weeds and a swampy area back there.

"He said there were 'hundreds of humming birds out there – why don’t you put a feeder out?' So I started out with one feeder, and had to add another one, then another one.

"Then someone gave me one for Christmas, and I just kept on going. I have seven feeders now.”

The little birds evidently have their favorite feeders. “They hardly ever eat out of this one. I don’t know why, but they don’t like that one.” she said. “But two feeders, nearby, have to be filled twice a day.”

One year she kept track of the sugar used, which amounted to 110 pounds. She cleans the feeders every day and refills them when needed. There are too many birds flitting around the feeders and porch to estimate their number.

“The earliest I’ve seen them is April 15,” she said, “and they leave when the nights start getting cold.“

She puts the feeders out on April first, in case they come back sooner.

“I read that they send scouts ahead,” she said. “The mature male comes ahead to check out the area, and then the young males and females come.

"They raise young here, but you don’t see them when they are real little. They all look about the same at the feeders.

"The smaller ones are the younger ones, but I can’t tell you how old they are. They also eat small spiders. Their nests are real tiny,” she said. “They are around here all day long, but in the evening there are more of them.

"I have had them to come to my kitchen window and look in at me. When I look out, there will be a couple of feeders empty.”

Beyond the Hummingbirds...

Other residents on the Wilhelm grounds are “L.T.," a large brown, sleek-haired, long-eared dog and his father, “Max."

"'L.T.' stands for long tail, because he was the puppy with the longest tail in the litter. He is a bird dog, but he points on frogs,” Sharon said.

A very tall silo with a balcony-like structure near the top still stands on the property. Sharon shared her not-so-fond memory about the silo.

“When I was a kid, when I got home from school, I would have to climb up the silo to that (balcony) and throw silage down to the cows.

“There was an electric light to turn to climb back down, because it was too dark to see by then. It wasn’t so bad climbing up, but it was scary climbing back down in the dark … and the bull would be standing there,” she said.

She also has good memories about the lake which her father built and the family get-togethers on the grounds.

There is also a bit of American history about her home.

The old stagecoach road ran just east of the house, coming from Griffith Cemetery.

“Gene Watson told me that it was the longest stagecoach road in the state,” she said.

“My dad closed the road off when he built the house.”

Besides watching  her hummingbirds, Sharon enjoys working in her yard and quilting with her quilting club at the Haley Chapel Church.