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Hummingbird Mother

The Little Hummingbird Mother

A flock of hummingbirds can be referred to as a bouquet, a glittering, a hover, a shimmer or a tune.

Hummingbirds are pollinators. They are also among Nature’s finest entertainers.

Who hasn’t watched them swoop and dive or heard their high pitched chirps that are more clicks, or the hum of their wings, beating at 70 wing beats per second. Over 4,000 a minute. 

I was living in Tucson when I first noticed the hummingbirds around our house.  Late in April, I heard a female bird before I saw her. She was in a potted Ficus tree on the front porch building a nest.  

I watched her through a window. Her tiny white eggs were smaller than the smallest jellybean. Patiently, she kept them warm, only leaving for brief intervals to feed. I hung a feeder in a nearby tree.

The eggs hatched. There were two babies, tiny black things with short beaks. The little hummingbird mother was conscientious. She fed herself, then regurgitated the food into her babies’ growing beaks. Soon, the baby hummers outgrew the nest so they perched on the edge, waiting for mom to come home with dinner. 

One day we needed some excavating done. The air was dusty from the work. When I looked for the little mother she was gone. Fifteen minutes later, she had not returned. I was worried. Where was she?

Since it was nearly dark outside, I went to turn off the lights in the carport and shut the door. That was when I saw her, perched on the garage door opener. She had gotten confused in the dust and had come to the wrong place. Already, several hours had passed since she had fed her babies.

I wanted to find something to use to catch her, but when I opened the door to the house she flew in, then down the hall and perched on the frame over the front door. The Ficus tree was just outside. I picked her up. Holding her was like holding a feather. She didn’t struggle. It was as if she knew I would help her.

 When I opened the front door, she immediately flew to her babies. Surely hungry herself after being in the garage so long, she fed her babies, one then the other.

And I thought, this is what being a mother is all about. 

On Mother’s Day I was watching the little hummer family when the baby birds left the nest. Their fledging wings buzzed as they flew to a nearby bush. The mother hovered, then landed near them. 

There was a pause, their wings still, then one after the other, they flew over the wall and were gone. 



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