"Don't wish me happiness I don't expect to be happy all the time....It's gotten beyond that somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor. I will need them all." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Friday, 23 May 2014

Cradle in the wind

Of all the birds the ones I love the most are hummingbirds. At this time in my life I take even greater delight in them than ever before. Female rufous hummingbirds are a symbol of courage and strength. They are to put it mildly downright gutsy. Alone she will build her nest taking anywhere from 6 to 10 days. Alone she will incubate two eggs for 16-18 days keeping them at a constant temperature of 96 degrees. After they are born they weigh about 0.62 grams- less than a quarter teaspoon of sugar. As they cannot regulate their body temperature, alone she will spend most of her time sitting on the nest keeping them warm. After a week or so her babies will have enough pinfeathers to regulate their own temperature. Alone she will feed her young for about three weeks before they leave on their own. She will have flown as much as 12 thousand miles round trip to do all of this. Pumpkin and I found this hummingbird nest complete with two downy nestlings. Their bodies are deep browns and blend well into the dark nest. The only bit of color is their tiny yellow beaks. The two were fast asleep, while the light wind rocked their bark lined, basket cradle in the long drooping cedar bough. Even their beaks were barely visible.

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