Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Sad Ending

I like happy endings. I know that sad endings are probably more realistic in many stories, but I really want everyone to live happily ever after. My sister Bay wrote a fabulous blog entry about happy endings when one of her real life experiences came to a joyful conclusion. I wish I had a happy ending for my story.

Now, don't panic. The babies, as far as I know, are both fine. Typical siblings, they don't hang out together, so I don't know if I'm seeing brother and sister or if it's just one coming to the feeder. They're wild birds and the world is a dangerous place. They might meet with an unhappy end. That's beyond my control.

What I could have -- should have -- controlled, though, was the disposition of their nest. I spent so much happy time this spring watching that nest. That nest was at the center of an event that I couldn't have asked for, couldn't buy with money. It just happened and it made me happy and I wanted to keep the nest as a memento. That is, of course, after the mama bird used it again this summer. I hoped she would. Since the babies fledged, I've spent a lot of time just gazing at that tiny nest and thinking about what a wonder it was.

I didn't mention it on this blog, but I had talked to some landscapers, a husband and wife team, about removing that bush. It's in an awkward place and it's untidy and when it flowers in the spring it attracts little flying bugs. When the female hummingbird started sitting on the bush, though, I told the landscapers not to remove it. She liked sitting there. Later, I told them the happy news about the nest. I told them that the silly bird had built a nest on a dead branch. I told them that the bush has to stay for good now. I told them. I told them. I said, in so many words, "Now we won't even trim off the dead branches." They knew how important it was to me. While they were working on a neighbor's yard, I offered to show the wife the nest. She was in too much of a rush, but we said we'd look at it later.

We didn't get around to it.

They came today. Things were hectic. The dog was going to the groomer. We left the gate unlocked. We had already walked around the yard with them months ago -- before the nest -- and shown them what we wanted done.

They cut the dead branches off the bush. They cut the nest off. It's gone and thrown away. And I'm broken hearted. It's somewhere out there in a garbage bag in the yard. My husband tried to find it. I've cried.

Silly, I know. It's ridiculous to be so attached to a hummingbird nest. But the thing is...well, it was just a little unexpected blessing in my life. It made me so happy. It gave me hope that the mother would come back again this summer and have another little family there. I made plans to find a shadow box so I could keep it and remember this happy spring.

Tonight the hummingbirds came to the feeder and then zipped away. They're wary because there was so much activity in the yard. They're unsure because the trees and bushes have been trimmed, so many of their perches are gone. I know they'll get used to the changes. I know they'll come back and be comfortable at the feeder again.

What I don't know is whether they'll ever feel comfortable enough to build another home in my back yard.


At 5/03/2006 7:52 PM, Blogger Gwyn said...

Oh Amy, I am so sorry that happened. We had some wildflowers yanked when our house addition was done, unnecessarily, I might add.

Hopefully the mama bird will remember the fine family she raised here and try again. And hopefully you'll see a nest again.

At 5/06/2006 11:38 PM, Blogger Bay in TN said...

I agree with Gwyn. Also, remember that the old nest was in a dead branch. That nest would have been blown away within a year, anyway.

Now... how 'bout some pictures from your Where's George pool party? I'm dyin' here!!!!!


At 5/08/2006 2:42 PM, Anonymous Noriko Carroll said...

Our black-chin returned in spring, and started to work on her old nest on the clothesline in between clothespins on our back porch. . . She, however, was actually removing the materials from the nest and flew off to our neighbor's tree! She was moving her nest! I was heartbroken, and my husband was insulted! Then, immediately after she raised two chicks in the tree nest, she surprised us again by coming back to her old nest on the clothesline and rebuilding it!

Most of tree nests don't survive in tact to the next year. Hummers build new nest every year either from scratch or on top of the old one. If they lose their favorite perch, they will find a new spot. Plant hummer friendly flowers and keep hanging feeders as you no doubt do. If your yard is like a hummer supermarket, they will come back to you! Our neighbor keeps trimming his trees and often removes old nests, but hummers keep coming back to the same tree. . .

We have been watching and photographing hummers in our backyard for several years. Just like you, we fell in love watching babies on a nest! The joy they gave you is not the end, but a continuing saga. You will learn more when you see them time after time. You may be interested in seeing our book about another hummer's life in Las Vegas, "First Flight: A Mother Hummingbird's Story" from Andrews McMeel. BTW, I suspect you have a female Anna's that came to your feeder. Also, you may have more than one nest in your backyard. . .

At 11/22/2006 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry this happened. Sometimes in life, when we want to find some escapism to our lives, some happiness to bring light to them, we will attach to whatever little blessed event comes along. I am sure that even though the birds couldn't express it, it was a good thing you were kind to them. That is reality. But you did a good thing.


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