I saw her pause on the chain link construction fence. A shiny gem vibrating.
A hummingbird, shimmering emerald green, with a bit of white fluff held in a beak the size and color of pencil lead.
I watched her buzz twenty feet away to her project. A soft nest I could easily hold in the palm of my hand. She tucked the fluff inside. Her bower was a scantily leafed tree five feet tall, planted against a robins egg blue casa wall.
Her dwelling had become part of the decor. Lined with spider webs and vegetable fluff, it’s exterior done in twigs and three red petals.
The little nest and it’s builder became part of our walking routine every day. Ron,Tim, Jim and Howie would check on her enroute to the beach or the crystal clear pool. I checked on her after the windstorm that threatened to turn the tiny tree into a slingshot. R and I tried to identify her. Black chinned hummingbird we proclaimed her. COLIBRI: HUMMINGBIRD
We found she too had come all the way from Washington. For the same reasons we did really. Minus the procreation portion. Much more pleasant place to spend a winter, it was unanimous. But how in gods green earth does a feathery thing the weight of a nickel make it the whole trip? Heaven knows it was hard enough for some of us, what with breakdowns, sand traps, driving rain, bitter cold nights, useless maps, and the whims of health. And we are HUGE and have GIANT brains and CARS!
Howie said there was speculation that they were found like the bee on his sail boat, drafting a sail, even heard stories of them riding with flocks of geese.
Do they know Orion’s Belt and the North Star? Do they sense magnetic North? Predict the weather? So many impossible things seem possible just knowing that these tiniest of birds who recall every good flower can navigate their way to their winter home 2,000 miles, 450 over the gulf of mexico, and back again. You may see this little one with a bright bead eye and ascending whispery whistle this summer, nonchalantly hustling snapdragons and Fuscias.
She protected her eggs which Howie likened to tic tacs, for nearly a week.
We returned from market yesterday and were greeted with the news that we now had the rare privilege of seeing day old hatchlings.
Grey and ugly as any day-old bird, they were adorable even then in their dimunitive size.
The mother would feed them a brew of insects and nectar. They will have proper feathers in about ten days and be fledglings flying or falling in another week or two.
They will be quiet then and the dauntless mother will leave them long and often to avoid drawing predators. She may have another brood. She may live to be five. Often the fledglings die in the first year.
I will think of her when I think of home now. And, when I am home in the woods of green, I will think of her being here on the arid Baja by Loreto Bay on the Sea of Cortez. Also I will think of my traveling brother, a gem of a human being, and after his personal endeavor to go South it seems to me rather poetic that he got to get up close and personal to these little agents of homing and rehoming before he loaded up his dusty truck and headed North again.