Wednesday, January 15, 2014

#3 Hummingbirds

My Favorite Nature Moments of 2013.

I've held hawks. Intense, strong. I've held owls. Wide-eyed, soft. I've held feisty, screaming kestrels and a good list of chickadees, wrens and other small songbirds. But, holding a ruby-throated hummingbird is something all together different.

The three-ounce (the same weight as two dimes) nectar-loving feathered infinitesimals are virtually non-existent in your hand. It's like holding a hope, or a promise.  

They go limp. You have to take it on good faith they're alive and you aren't grasping too tightly.

Every summer, KTOS, the local bird club, and Ijams host a Hummingbird Festival in late August. Hummers are caught and banded by local licensed bander Mark Armstrong.

The one in my hand in these photos flew into our greenhouse a few days before the event and was unable to find its exit. After catching it in a large butterfly net, I carried the foundling outside, not knowing if the feathered mircle was still living and breathing. Opening my hand and giving it a nudge, I was relieved when it bolted to life and flew away. The evanescence—and in this case I'm using it as a noun—vanished like morning mist.

For more about last year's festival, click: Hummingbirds in August

-Photos by Rex McDaniel

No comments: