Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hummingbird Update: The Last

Yesterday I noticed a lot of movement in the nest. Mama Bird was around more than usual. I was wondering if this would be the day of first flight. I was on the phone when I saw the baby bird struggling, struggling to the edge of the nest. I turned to grab my camera and he was gone. I was stunned. I got up and checked the nest.

Empty.

Both sad and happy at the same time, I stepped outside to see if I could locate him. No sign. Then I looked down and there he was, on the concrete below, struggling to get up. I put a box lid over the top of the baby and called HOB who got home in 10 minutes. He gently placed the baby back in the nest and we waited. Mama Bird came back, and then left again. I saw the baby struggling in the nest. An hour later, he had died.

For seven weeks we had watched this baby and he was so close, so close, to flying away. I cried over this loss. I sat on the couch and wept. Just as I had dried my tears, I saw the Mama coming back to check on her baby. All my empathy for a fellow mother swept over me and I cried again.

I am sorry to tell you all this, but you have all been on this journey with me and I felt I owed it to you all to be honest. For the last seven weeks, the first thing I have done in the morning is to look out and check the nest. I am sure I will automatically continue to do that for days and days.

I am exceedingly squeamish around dead animals, but at the urging of HOB I did take the hummingbird's final photos. I had documented his entire life, every day, so I knew it was my duty to finish the job. HOB took him out of the nest and held him in the palm of his hand. He was so tiny, just a little comma, but what promise he had held for us and what joy he had given us. I know in the entire scope of life this is just a comma as well, but right now, it feels pretty big.

I have never made a movie before, but I put together some of the pictures I had of our little bird into the following video. I did not include his final photos.

The video ends a little abruptly, but so did his life. I don't know how to go back in and change that.

I wish I could.



59 comments:

Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife said...

Oh Betty, I want to cry now too. This is so weird, I just 2 dead baby birds as I was walking yesterday....both were beautiful jay birds :-( I guess birds are more fragile than I realized...thank you for sharing this video.

Old Kitty said...

Oh no. Oh no! :-(

Oh Betty - that poor little bird. I was so happy to see pics of this sweet tiny creature feeding yesterday and now - oh this is so so so sad.

Thank you for sharing his/her short adorable life with us - and this collage of such a life is beautiful. I am really sad. But thank you for being there for this little feathered family. I hope that next year, this mummy and daddy hummingbird will be more successful.

take care and thanks again

x

Ann said...

Oh Betty I'm so sorry that the hummingbird story didn't have a happy ending. Thank you so much for sharing the sad sweet story of the life cycle of your little friend.

Piedmont Writer said...

I believe Hummers come back every year to the same nest/tree/yard, so if you should see the family next year, or even in the next few months (she might mate again), have HOB put a net underneath the nest so if new baby falls out, he won't hurt himself.

I am sorry for your loss Betty. It's an absolutely devastating thing to know that this little baby didn't make it. But you must know, this is nature and that's the way it sometimes goes. It doesn't lessen the pain of watching him grow for the last 7 weeks and I wish I could spare you that. He's flying in Heaven now.

sherri said...

note to self, do not read sad bird story first thing in the morning. the comma part killed me. beautifully written.

liz said...

Oh, BB! I can't watch the video, I know I'll cry.

I'm so sorry to hear this! I know that you are truly upset, and I completely understand why.

Do you know anything about hummingbird babies and if this outcome is typical?

sarahjayne smythe said...

I'm sorry. I feel so bad for you. We tend to forget just how fragile life really is. But what a wonderful little video you've created in memory of the little one. Your talent and affection for the birds shines through.

June said...

Oh my, I am teary too. I am Lifeaseyeseeit's mom and have been reading your blog on occasion. I love hummers as we have them at our Lake Michigan home. I have only found empty nests. What a wonder story you have shared of this little bird's life. Your pictures are truly amazing. Thank You so much. My heart has been touched.

Georgina said...

Oh, that's so sad. I'm so sorry to hear that. The Creator chose you to be the witness to this little birds tiny life. And you shared it all with us. Thank you. - G

Crystal Cook said...

Oh Betty, that is so sad. Poor little guy. I'm so sorry, thank you for sharing his story. And I would have been right there crying on the couch with you.

Susan said...

Like all great writers do, you have allowed this bird to live in our hearts and minds eternally. That little bird had two mommas looking after him, and I am grateful for that. I love what "Piedmont Writer" wrote-- "he is flying in heaven now." Your chronicle of his life will forever remain with me-- thank you for sharing it with us. I am truly sorry for his loss.

Leanne said...

OH, Betty. . . I'm so sorry. My heart is heavy now.

But look what this little babe did ... for all of us. Look at the love we all felt for him. He had a purpose - albeit short - and I am so grateful that you had us on this journey with you. I'm so sorry, again.

Joe Cap said...

Oh, Betty. As a huge nature lover I can relate to this more than you know. I would have done everything that you did in documenting them.
It may be small consolation, but God the creator know about everything that happens....

'Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge.'
Matthew 10:29

TS Hendrik said...

That is so incredibly sad. I've enjoyed so much the posts on the hummingbirds. This is a hard one.

Thank you for sharing it with us, even this. It's brutal, but honest. And you've done a fine job, commemorating the journey.

THE OLD GEEZER said...

Good Morning Betty

What an interesting video.
Thank you for posting it.

I agree with Joe Cap and his Matthew 10:29 quote. Our loving God is in control of all things even when we have a difficult time understanding... "why".

God Bless You

Ron

Copyboy said...

Gotta admit (even as a card carrying dude) a baby bird's life being snuffed out before its prime is saddening. Now if you had played "Through the Years" for the video I would have been flat out bawling.

Kazzy said...

sad face :(

Maggi said...

Oh my goodness, I am so sorry! I would have sitting there crying right along side of you. What a sweet little bird, I am so sorry!

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

Oh no, Betty this is so sad that the little guy didn't make it.
I feel for you and know how upset you are..i'm so sorry to hear that :( I'm not sure if i really want to watch that vid right now. I will come back. I know you made a great job!
Love
Betty xx

Ashley King said...

TOTALLY crying here!!! You know, Pat (and my mom) can relate to this stuff.... i should REALLY tell Pat to blog about his attempts to keep birds out of their house, as he is always the one who has to remove the baby birds that fall from the nests. the mother birdies don't take well to their babies after they are touched by human scent. my mom (and pat) have both put plastic gloves and or bags over their hands to hide their scent when attempting to put birds back in their nests.... SO very sad, Betty and i'm incredibly sorry for your loss, your pain and your sadness....

You tried. and the video is absolutely lovely! i LOVE all the beautiful photos!!!! You are wonderful!

Tracy said...

Oh, sniff! I know there is some lesson about life and death and nature, etc, but it still hurts. I know you must be devastated because I am. Thanks for sharing the baby's short journey with us.

My cousin was protecting a baby blue jay and told me it finally managed to get off the ground today and flew right over into the neighborhood cat's back yard.

This is a sad day for birds.

Ms. Anthropy said...

Noooooooooooooooo!!! Can't speak, too emotional. Bless you!

Joann Mannix said...

Betty, I am crying, just crying.

I know there is a circle of life, but to be a part of this baby's little splash of a life was such a joy and a privilege.

I'm going to watch the video now, to remember the few sweet, short days this little one had.

Thank you for commemorating it for us.

I am so sorry.

The Empress said...

Oh, Betty! That is so sad.

Does someone know, if he wasn't ready to fly yet, why did he try? Is it b/c he was alone, and didn't know, or wanted to find his mother?

Do you think he feel out by accident, or did he really think it was time for him to fly?

So very sad. I didn't expect that... we never know what a day will bring, do we?

Thanks for letting us in on the glorious first weeks, Betty.

Beth said...

Such a well written, but terribly sad, post. I'm sorry Betty! Thank you for sharing this journey with us.

Madi and Mom said...

Hi Betty....oh me my heart is broken too. I thank you for you kindness to the sweet little baby...nature is very cruel sometimes. I wonder if it was sick? I'm so sorry your Saturday started off like this. We all appreciated how you shared this little guy with us. Your pictures and words were a tribute to his short life.
Big hug from us.
Madi and Mom

Pearl said...

Oh, Betty. I'm so sorry!

Pearl

Aging Mommy said...

Oh Betty - I started reading this and got to the point where you said the chick had died and my jaw literally dropped. I am so sorry, you must have been so upset. The bird world is a very tragic one, so many chicks fail to make it. Poor Mommy bird too. Big hugs for you.

Cheeseboy said...

Bittersweet.

Velvet Over Steel said...

I'm so sad for you and his mama! What a sweet thing you did by caring, following and documenting his short 'tiny' life. So sad.... beautiful video and rememberance. I makes us all truely appreciate the small and simple things in life.
Big HUG, Betty!! ~ Coreen

citymouse said...

Betty, how sad. I love birds (only in the wild, not as pets) and they make me so happy. I can only imagine the little piece of your heart that is wounded by this little guy's death. I have a robin's nest in my dogwood tree that I check on most days. I think of it as a little blessing just for me. I suppose this is nature and we don't always understand how things work. I hope you smile again soon.

Funky Mama Bird said...

That is sad!

And I came over here with good news, too!

http://www.funkymamabird.com/2010/05/diaper-dilemma-and-winner.html

Jimmy said...

Wow Betty,

I am so sorry it ended this way but was proud you had me along for the ride, I enjoyed the story even though the ending was not what we expected.

Next nest will have better results, we have to look forward to this.

Susan Fields said...

Oh no! This is so sad. That poor momma. I don't know how mothers in nature stand it, when so few of their offspring survive. And how sad for you, and for us who have followed their journey. Hopefully this momma bird will have better luck with her next brood.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a heartbreaker! I would have cried too! I'm so sorry...This video is beautiful! Thank your for creating it! It really touches the heart! You are an amazing lady! ~Janine XO

Alyssa said...

Betty, I don't think I can add any more of value to the sympathy expressed already. What I'll take away from this is your genuine love and the parallel of the human mother to the mother bird for her baby.

Beautiful story, tender observation, and sad, sad ending.

Ally said...

oooh bettty this is just awful. i'm so sorry. i almost wish you could share those images with the mama bird. i know that sounds childish, but i do :( i love how you've been watching over them and sharing this tale with us, but i'm also sad for you and for us. what a tragic ending, i just don't even really know what to say. so sad.

Mr. Stupid said...

This is really sad. Even though, I have been here only for a week, I enjoyed looking at the little bird. I am so sorry to hear, he's no more.
Thanks for sharing that beautiful video...:)

slommler said...

What a moving tribute to the little guy. I am so sorry for the loss! Teary eyed here!!
Hugging you
SueAnn

Peggy K said...

My heart is broken. This wasn't what we expected!! And I can't stop crying!! I hurt for the little momma, I hurt for all of us who held such hope in another life giving so much to the world. But I need to remember that as short-lived as that little one was, with your help he gave us some memories to cherish! Betty, thank you for sharing the journey with us!

Talli Roland said...

Ohhhhhhh! What a beautiful and poignant video - so sorry it had to end how it did.

Betty, thank you for sharing it.

Green Monkey said...

QUICK post something to make me stop crying..

Betty, on friday I came home and found a baby bird on the concrete. He had fallen out of a nest that is hidden in a tight space above a concrete carport. Miss Lucy spotted him first, Kittay joined. His eyes were not yet open, he had only a few feathers, his belly was fat. Somehow he was still alive after a 10 foot fall. He opened his mouth for food. Luckily my husband came home just as I was standing over him crying. He went to the garage to get the ladder, I put on medical gloves, mixed him up, carried him up the ladder, and did my best to place him back in the nest. I could here another birds chirp. It was a tight fit and because it was in the rafters I could not see the inside of the nest. I worried if I had done the right thing. A few moments later, mom returned with food.

do you think that if the chick dies she will push him out of the nest? did I do the right thing? I assumed I did but when I read about your hummingbird, now I have mixed feelings. I couldn't leave him on the concrete...I just couldn't.

:(

your movie was beautiful Betty... thank you for sharing.

MonkeyME

Vodka Logic said...

Love the video, thanks. I am sure this happens all to often in the wild. It is so sad to have it come to such an end. thanks for sharing it with us, the good and the bad.

Why does only one of the eggs hatch?

Green Monkey said...

typo... I didn't "mixed" him up...I picked him up. didn't want you to think I'd mix up a chick. :) oh, I just soothed myself....

Leeuna said...

This is so sad. Nature can be so beautiful and so cruel all at the same time. I'm so sorry he didn't make it. I know you're heart broken, you followed his progress for so long. However, thanks to you, this tiny humming bird won't be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

this hits me in ways i cannot express. i am sorry for your loss, for our loss, and for momma hummingbird. i hope she can fly away and forget, and we can fly away and be at peace.
pg

gayle said...

This is so sad ..poor you and the momma hummingbird!

Lindy MacDuff said...

I've been away for several days and just now trying to catch up. So very, very sorry to read about baby hummingbird. That was a very nice photo collage/video you made. I like the photo you posted on May 14th, too. I think I would frame that one for a keepsake.

Hilary said...

I'm so sorry, Betty. It's just so thrilling to watch life grow but such a heartache when it doesn't work out as it should. Your heart was so caring and invested in this little critter. It's such a heartbreak to realize that nature doesn't always have happy endings. I wish I could send you a hug. All I can offer up is a big thank you for caring as you do. And for sharing.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

That is so terribly sad! I would have cried too! I'm so sorry it ended this way!

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

That makes me so sad....

Marlene said...

The video is awesome. I'm so sad that the poor little guy died, though. :( I think I would have cried, too. Hell, I've already got a tear forming.

Noelle said...

I have loved this bird story and I'll be honest...I teared up just now reading this.

Green Monkey said...

my chick ended up on the concrete again. this time dead. I had a small, intimate burial for him this morning. :(

Bitsy Baby Photography said...

ohmy Betty, i can not stop crying =( my heart aches....it makes me think of parents that loose their young children from sickness or accidents. i'm so sad for this Mama birdy and for how horrible this was for you too! Hugs to you!

Pat Tillett said...

That is so sad. To watch it hatch and grow and that. It was a nice story anyway.
We have a lot of bird nests around our house. Many hatchlings never make it to flight here also. Sad...

CRAZYMOM said...

The natural world can be so cruel and unforgiving. It makes me wonder if momma bird's heart is capable of the same ache we feel when our babies suffer. Beautiful video. Thanks for sharing his little life.

Anything Fits A Naked Man said...

I have no words, Betty. None. Except to tell you how very, very sorry I am. Hugs.

Shan said...

It's so easy to make a pregnant woman cry, but it's sad enough to make anyone cry.

Sorry I'm just catching up. I hope you are doing well.

Hugs.