My husband is a saint. For years, the man has built a plethora of platforms to quiet his wife’s frantic squawking.
“But they’re building over there, and their twigs are falling. Can’t we help them?”
Yep. I’m talking about birds and bird platforms (and me doing the most chirping, not the birds).
Then there was this argument:
“But they’re trying to build in the lights. We have to help them.”
This time it was the orioles stringing their dried grasses throughout the compact fluorescent bulbs under the breezeway (you know … the high-energy bulbs that look like squiggly piggy tails).
In early May, I was actually minding my business with no intention of intervention as I worked from my own perch in the writing studio on wheels. I noticed a mama hummingbird zipping back and forth, and her frequent rest stops on the outdoor white lights. When I realized she was building a nest (something she attempted in the past, but aborted), I couldn’t resist that urge to “help.” Big surprise.
Despite my yearning to find some way to stabilize the lights (they really rock when the wind rushes through the breezeway), I decided I would sit on my hands not ask my husband to intervene this time. We’d just see how it went (how do you brace dangling lights, anyway?).
Okay … so, given my past history, you knew I couldn’t sit around and do nothing, right? So – in the midst of Mama Hen’s building, I did some research and came across some cool hummingbird houses:
After my purchase (and more research), I realized that Mama Hummie was too far along in the building and egg-depositing process to use the new houses. That means, for now, the Hummingbird Houses will wait until the winter nesting season, which also means, for the first time, I have let nature take its course.
Stay tuned for mama and baby progress reports and check out our Hummie Cam, which updates with refreshed images every 30 seconds.
For Writers: Hummingbirds and writers have more in common than you might think.
- A hen is already carrying eggs when she begins the nest-build, and sometimes lays the first before construction is complete. When writers come to a new story or project, they already carry ideas inside them. Some are bursting and ready to be born while others stay in our bellies until we’re ready to build that next special thing.
- The hen begins building two different nests at once, testing various locations to see which is best (for shade, wind, protection), and then she picks the most favorable. The writer often starts with multiple story ideas, themes, and characters. She might build some of them up and quickly abandon them, testing them along the way … until she picks the one that appears most stable – or shall we say most saleable.
- When chicks are only days from buzzing out of their nests, mama begins constructing a second nest. She’s a multitasker, just like novelists who finish up one story and are off to the next before the ink has dried on the first. *
In what ways are you like a hummingbird in your writing?