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My body sighed, as if a sense of complete and utter relief had come across me. It was a funny feeling, and though unusual to me, I am sure it is an experience that many parents have had while raising their children.
I had spent the past 42 days watching an Anna’s Hummingbird nest, starting before the two M&M-sized eggs hatched to the day the young fledged, and began their adult lives. I realized the day they left how attached and captivated I had become, realizing how on edge I was during the entire time spent watching them grow.
I began to personify the process of raising two miniscule, hungry hummingbirds. I empathisized with the would-be thoughts and woes of the poor mother, who spent literally every hour of her time caring for her young, sometimes feeding them every 10 minutes on a day-to-day basis.
Studies say hummingbirds have heart rates that average over 1,000 beats per minute; I think my heart probably came near that the instant I first spotted a female hummer sitting on her nest earlier this spring. Later I found that what I had seen was a female Anna’s Hummingbird, the only year-round hummingbird resident here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s been just over a month since stumbling upon the nest. In the time since, I’ve become an Amateur Anna’s Hummingbird Ornithologist, or in simpler terms, a hummingbird FREAK.
There. I’ve said it, and frankly, I’m not afraid to admit my oddity. If someone asked me what the average maximum velocity of a male Anna’s Hummingbird during it’s “courtship dive,” I would happily inform them it is 385 body-lengths/second.