just last week, i noticed that the wild columbine in our yard had bloomed. then today, my husband came running up the stairs to announce that he had just seen the first hummingbird of the year pulling fluff from the ferns for nesting material. these two events are actually related. whether because columbine evolved to bloom just when hummingbirds returned in the spring, or whether hummingbirds evolved to migrate just as columbine flowered, they are perfect seasonal partners. only a very few birds and insects have beaks or proboscides long enough to reach the little pods of nectar at the top of the crowns of columbine flowers, and very few flowers at this time of year provide enough nectar to support the insane metabolism of hummingbirds. not only that, but the only hummingbird species in the eastern united states is specifically attracted to red flowers. in the western us, where there are more kinds of hummingbirds, there are also more colors of columbine. nature lesson for the day is done. you may be excused.
wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)