We recently had a front-row seat to a joyous little nature drama that went on for over a month. A mama hummingbird had built an amazing little tiny nest woven into a string of lights on our front patio, about two feet directly in front of our library window. With a front-row piano bench seat for the drama.
My neighbors in Gated Geezerland seem to compete to see who can produce the most spectacular display of outdoor Christmas lights and decorations. We are Jewish, and do not participate, though I enjoy the displays. One year I bought one festive little single string of multi-colored, non-Christmasy lights in the shape of chili peppers for the front patio just for fun. After a few years, some lights burned out, but it seemed like a lot of trouble to take them down. And thus, the string became a platform for a nest.
How in the world Mama Hummingbird “chose” that space is anybody’s guess. Woven into the nest there appeared to be some longish hairs that some would mistakenly call “grey” and others refer to more accurately as “platinum blonde.” I shed like a Siberian Husky, so it’s nice to have some of those hairs recycled.
Mama Hummingbird sat on the eggs in the nest for about two weeks, leaving every 15 minutes or so to find sustenance for herself. I understand the impetus to eat every 15 minutes, plus I am small and flighty. I am having my DNA tested to see if I am 1/32nd hummingbird. Gotta be worth a professorship at Harvard, at minimum.
We researched hummingbirds and learned a lot of interesting facts. For example, they cannot walk. They can only hover, perch, and fly. At night they go into a state of “torpor” in which their vitals drop to ridiculous levels so that they no longer need to feed themselves every few minutes in order to live. I bet I do a version of that which accounts for my miserable metabolism. If I were a car, I could drive coast to coast on one gallon of gas.
At some point, it became clear that the eggs had hatched and that there were two tiny baby birds sharing space in a nest the size of a double-wide thimble. Mama H then had to go off and find food for all three of them and return to feed the little parasites who mostly sat around with their tiny beaks in the air waiting to be fed.
Unlike with baby humans who can take up to 25, 30 years to leave the nest – if you’re lucky – these little babies turned into fat, antsy teenagers in a little over two weeks! Then the bravest one flew off about a week after that. At first his brother (I went ahead and assumed their genders) appeared happy to see him gone and took over the whole nest plus his stereo. But the next day the first bird returned and schooled his brother on how it was done and encouraged him by pecking at his behind and then they were both gone! Mama H returned from a food foray, looked around for the kids, seemed to shrug and say, “Whatever. My work here is done!” and took off herself never to be seen again.
Both the Paranoid Texan (PT) and Mr. AG claim to have seen some members of the family in the neighborhood, but I have not. It was a real delight to watch that little drama unfold and a heck of a lot cheerier than hearing human bird-brains squawking “impeeeeachment,” “Puuutin,” or “raaaacism” tediously. But now we are empty-nesters. Literally.
Still, it was a month-long Nugget of Joy. There are others.
Just what we needed after a horrific week of vicious murders by worthless losers who we now learn could have and should have been identified as posing grave danger to innocent people. I blame the liberals from the 1960s who lobbied for and got laws preventing the institutional treatment of the mentally ill. Present law prevents anyone who has been adjudicated mentally ill from purchasing a firearm. Because of other laws that prevent holding them against their will for more than 72 hours many who should be so adjudicated are not. They remain free to buy guns and kill people.
What will happen now? Will laws preventing us from keeping the mentally ill institutionalized until they are cured be repealed? No. Liberals would rather impose restrictions on good law-abiding people who are not mentally ill and then pat themselves on the back for doing something about gun violence. It’s delusional.