A couple of years ago, the hummingbirds chose the garden of the house as a place to nest from time to time. I have seen this process 5 times, from the construction of the nest, the brooding and until the young hummingbird takes off. Although this process has not always concluded with the last step.
At the end of November, after almost a year without knowing anything about the hummingbirds, we had a new nest, which as always housed two eggs. Although my professional training is within the natural sciences, I am not an ornithologist or very attached to zoology. However, these little birds, by forming their little houses so close to us, aroused total curiosity in me and therefore I devoted myself to follow them and contemplate their different phases.
I had never considered that the size of the eggs they put is so tiny, the size of my thumbnail (almost 1.5 cm), nor that it is as normal to put a pair.
On two occasions, one of the eggs has not hatched, but the mother does not remove it from the nest.
After the eggs are in the nest, the mother, barely moves, except a couple of times in the day to find her food. After about two weeks, the chicks hatch and the mother leaves the nest more often to feed. The chicks are "very ugly" (as my mother would say). Eyes tightly closed, in a head that looks more eye than anything, with a small beak. They have a black body with a few hard hairs that mark where the wings will grow and some in what will later be the tail.
For another 2 weeks, all they do is sleep and occasionally open the beak for the mother to feed them. In our case, in particular, the mother is fighting with a type of thrush that we have, with an orange beak, which is known to destroy nests with chicks of smaller birds. Even before those nests were left in the bougainvillea that is at the entrance of the house, I had never noticed the sound hummingbirds do. Those who visit us, have 2 in particular. One that repeats like bullets, is used when the mother attacks and seeks to frighten her enemy. This defense of the nest, it took me a couple of mornings, contemplating the mother's zeal to defend her nest.
Almost at the end of the month from the beginning, the chicks begin to show their plumage, which is at first brown.
It will take a couple of weeks more until the greenish tones start to appear. As I am the intruder who looks out with the camera to photograph them, I am also the first to share the news with my parents. No one stops wondering when they reach this stage, because it is simply amazing to see those colors in the chicks, which now spend more time awake. My mother can not help praising God either.
And it is just wonderful, as this whole process happens so that small hummingbirds are the delight in the gardens with their colors, their wings beat so fast and their trill. Really, many times contemplating all these parts of its cycle leads me to think about how wonderful God is with each being of his creation, the infinity of details and the beauty of everything.
|Eggs and the last chick that couldn't make it.|
Impossible not to exclaim the verse of Psalm 104: "How varied are your works, Lord! You did everything with wisdom, the earth is full of your creatures!"
Once, I was told that there is also another type of prayer and that is contemplation. Well, these little hummingbirds have given me many times, long moments to contemplate the wonder of God.
The last nest, last year, did not have a happy ending. Days after Christmas Eve, the chick (it only hatched an egg), already had almost all its feathers. I calculated that in about 5 to 7 more days, it would be on his first flight. However, we had a couple of days with lots of rain and on the fifth day of Christmas, after more than 10 hours of rain, while performing my prayer on Sunday, I listened to the mother with the battle trill.
I wanted to stop for a moment and go out to see if the thrush was bothering her or approaching the nest, but I had to discipline myself and finish my prayer first. Then I got distracted by another topic. Before noon, I was getting ready to go and say hello to the chick. When I left, my father told me with great sadness in his voice: "I do not know what happened, but he died", while he pointed out the little chick's body far away from the nest and with very bad traces.
I have a couple of hypotheses about what might have happened, but it is no longer relevant.
We buried it in the garden and I asked God for the mother of the chick. Yes! It seems crazy, but only the desire of the mother to look for the chick in the nest and not find it crossed my mind.
The next morning, something happened that still causes me between tenderness and grief. I heard the combat trill of the mother but in a different tone and rhythm. As I was beginning the morning prayer, I did not pay much attention to the first time, but to the third and fourth I put some attention. It seemed a tone of mourning. It was repeated a couple of times and then it stopped. Then, the other trills of the other birds did not leave traces of this in particular.
At the end of my prayer, I kept thinking about that last trill of the mother. Indeed, she was in mourning and in pain for losing the chick. Since I have some Marian prayers in the morning, I also thought about the pain of the Holy Mother of God. The pain that she experienced when she saw his Holy Son recently taken down from the Cross, the pain of not seeing him while he was in the grave. The pain that you should also feel, every time a baptized person dies, but away from the faith. The pain of those who apostatize, of those who run after a false pastor and abandon the path to the Sacred Heart of his Son. Although the Blessed Mother does not have a moan of pain that is audible to me, this mournful trill, made me think about how she carries this pain in silence.
It is truly worthy of admiration and respect, Our Blessed Mother.
The chick could not take flight, but at home in just over a month, it caused us to think a lot about God. I went from contemplating surprise and admiration for the beauty of God, to reflect on the pain of the Holy Mother Mary, and all thanks to the hummingbirds, who once again gave us the privilege of having them close.
How many more opportunities will God give us this year to contemplate Him in his magnificent creation? Will we be attentive to them?
At home, we will be attentive to more hummingbirds come to nest.
Blessed be God