Monday, July 02, 2018

Welcome to July ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Jilda and I shoed up early this morning to walk before the temperature and humidity made it possible to boil an egg in my pocket. A tender breeze out of the west felt good on my face. From somewhere down in the hollow, I heard an owl hooting. I usually hear Mr. Hootie at dusk, but we often hear and see some interesting things each time we walk.

I’d planned to rent a Bobcat and clear another walking path on our new property, but this year it went from winter to August, and my motivation for the new path dropped dramatically. Maybe we can do it in the fall.

On the last lap of today’s walk, I saw something in the front yard that caught my attention. Stepping closer to get a better look, I saw that it was a tiny bird’s nest. Not just any nest, but a hummingbird’s nest. I looked up into the water oak to see where it came from, but it was impossible to tell. 

There were no tiny eggshells lying around. It was hard to tell if the nest had been knocked
out of the tree by a rowdy squirrel, or if had blown out during a recent thunderstorm. I hope the babies hatched and headed for the zinnias in the backyard, but it’s hard to say.

Leaning over, I picked up the nest for a closer look. It was not much bigger than a silver dollar. Woven from lichen and pine needles that weren’t much thicker than thread, I could hold the little nest in the palm of my hand. The construction was sound and the little nest was not as fragile as I had imagined. I put it on the screen porch so that I can show it to my great nephew Jordan when he comes over.

I had only seen a hummingbird nest up close one other time in my life. It was many years ago while Jilda and I were visiting our friends Tom and Judy at their place on the Warrior River. It was springtime.

The day was warm, and everyone wore swimsuits with towels draped over our shoulders. We were going for a boat ride. Judy pulled us aside and whispered as if she were sharing a secret. “I only show this to our special friends,” she said. Near the edge of their boat dock was a privet bush overhanging the water. She leaned over and gently pulled one of the small limbs down enough for Jilda and me to see the hummingbird nest. Inside were three eggs that were not much bigger than an English pea. 

Wrapping my mind around the teeny creatures inside was hard. I shook my head in wonder as Judy gently guided the limb back into place. That was before my phone had a camera, so I missed that picture. But I can close my eyes and with a little prompting, see myself standing on tiptoes in the warm sun on that dock and see those tiny eggs for the first time. 

I know I sometimes whine about the heat and humidity. It’s during these times I dream of summering in the mountains of Colorado or Montana, but I’d miss the things I see around here on our daily walks.


  1. Aren't hummingbirds amazing little creatures? We don't have them here, anytime I saw any in the States I was completely captivated and charmed.
    And yes, I have undertaken the task from Hell to post this comment. :)

    1. You are brave, strong, and a true blog buddy:)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Ah, you remind me I need to find a place to hang a hummingbird feeder. Also I have NEVER seen a hummingbird nest. Yep it would be hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact a bird is inside an egg the size of a pea. Neat column.

    1. Thanks Jack. They are easy to miss because they are so tiny. You will enjoy having feeders nearby.

  4. I have never seen a hummingbird OR a hummingbird nest. Feathered enchantment.

  5. Hummers are so very enchanting. We used to have them buzz right by our noses as we sat on the patio. I've never before seen a nest though. Maybe you should place in a nearby bush and see if some new inhabitants move in. Summer days should be appreciated for the beauty they bring that we never see any other time of year.

  6. I never saw a humming bird nest before and I always wondered about the size. I can't tell from the picture because I have no point of reference.

    I once held a humming bird in my hand after it came in to our hot house that was attached to the house. It came in through the vents on the door and Kitty, our black cat had it in her mouth. My daughter screamed and I came running and the cat looked very guilty and let me take the humming bird out of her mouth. It weighed as light as a feather. I didn't see any blood or injury on the tiny bird so I opened the door and didn't expect it to fly but in a split second after I opened my hand, it flew away. Holding that tiny bird in my hand was an experience of a lifetime.
    Hugs, Julia

  7. I love to watch humming birds. They are so delicate. They will also eat from your hand. Cute little creatures but I have never seen the nest. According to your explanation, I would probably have to look hard to actually see one.

  8. Fascinating. I have never seen a hummingbird's nest.

  9. This image is exquisite! Quite the artisans, those tiny ones.

  10. I don't think I have ever seen a hummingbird

  11. Anonymous11:30 AM

    Growing up we had some sort of bush in our backyard that the hummingbirds loved but I never saw a nest!!


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