Emerald Jewels

We have a hummingbird nest in the yard. The people who lived in our home before us did an amazing job planting butterfly bush, bee balm, and phlox among other flowers, and we've done our best to keep it flourishing. It's pretty wild but we like it that way- the lilacs are as tall as the roof, and when you come through the gate you are welcomed with a gentle brush from applemint and beach rose, and you might have a hard time finding the latch beneath the clematis.

We have never put out birdfeeders, and I have no judgement on those that do! But somewhere in my wildlife ecology major a professor must have impressed upon me the concept of "ecological purist" because I always lean towards supporting the right plant species and habitat type if there is an interest of attracting a certain species of wildlife. The hummingbirds have been here for many years, and I suspect we have had a nest in the yard before, but this year I think it's right in the forsythia about 5 feet from the house.

We've gotten several in at work that have either struck windows or been caught by cats, and this year I've just been really examining those feathers. The color on their backs is truly an impossible green metallic, little emerald jewels that adorn their tiny bodies. It's a color that I feel like I want to live in, swim in, and just immerse myself in all at once. There is one that I think is the mom, that perches patiently on a lilac branch when we come in and out of the house. She kind of pretends she doesn't see us, but must have decided our bumbling but loving chaotic cloud is safe, because she stays comfortably on the perch, even preening and taking her eyes off us within 2-3 feet.

I did a little research, and like many animals, mom does the bulk of the baby/nestling rearing, including making the tiny nest which measures about the size of a thimble. Over the course of 7-10 days, she weaves a nest typically made of thistle and dandelion, the "glue" is spider silk and pine resin. This genious design actually grows with the babies and family. I think the babies may have fledged, and in our region they will be migrating within weeks. Tonight, the frogs and crickets are singing away, and I can only imagine what it must be like to go to sleep under a hummingbird mama's warm little body, breathing in deep the pine soaked night air, and falling asleep under the safety of a cascade of emerald jeweled feathers. Sweet dreams, hummingbirds:)

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