Rufie's Diary (kept by Gerry Stewart)

Part 4: January, 2004

Photo of immature male Rufous Hummingbird by Bill Hilton, Jr.

January 1, 2003 Happy New Year! "Rufie's first feeding of 2003: at 6:48, temperature 47 degrees, foggy drizzle.
Happy New Year!

January 2, 2003 More Cold Weather Coming! "Rufie showed up at 6:51, temperature 41 degrees and that's about as high as it's expected to get. Tomorrow has a projected high of 32, but Saturday it gets warmer, so it shouldn't be too rough on Rufie. Rufie's lookin' good. I was just thinking that after gazing at him all winter, the Ruby-throats will probably look a bit peculiar when they show up this Spring -- too long and slender. He's a chunky little guy. The bander did say Rufie was nice and fat -- that is one of measurements they take, although the fat determination is actually subjective rather than a measurement per se. But also I think Rufous's are shorter and stockier by nature than the Ruby-throats."

January 3, 2003 Slept In? "First saw Rufie at 7:00, temperature 30 degrees. I suspect he may have made an earlier visit, but that I was immersed in reading or something. I hurried out with fresh nectar (room temp.) He didn't come back again 'til 7:30, long enough for me to start worrying. !!! But he's okay.

January 4, 2003 Last Day "Rufie showed up at 7:05, temperature 24 degrees. I was getting worried. He looks fine.
5:00 pm :I think Rufie is gone. I haven't seen him since this morning, and although in the past he has been absent for hours during the day, he has always been here for a late feeding session before turning in for the night. I feel quite bereft. Strange that such a tiny critter could leave such a big hole in my heart! And yet, Sheri Williamson said he would probably leave between January and March, and it is January, but I was hoping he'd stay 'til March! I hope he's okay, will be watching the weather maps out west, wondering where he's gone... Whew! I feel like crying. It has been an inexpressible joy watching him all this time. Well, maybe he'll come back tomorrow morning. I'll keep the feeder maintained for some time before I throw in the towel.
Bless you, Rufie.

Try This! Journal Writing

Why did Rufie suddenly stop coming to Gerry's feeder? Here are some possibilities:

  • Rufie died
  • Rufie stayed in Gerry's yard but stopped coming to her feeder
  • Rufie migrated back to the West
  • Rufie migrated down to Mexico
  • Rufie moved on to another Tennessee backyard

Which possibilities seem more likely? Which don't seem likely? What do you think happened to Rufie? Do you have any evidence from Gerry's diary that supports what you think happened?

Is there any way Gerry might ever learn what happened to Rufie?

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