Sometimes, more often the average bear I suspect, I have bird run-ins. The other morning the dogs alerted me to the circumstance of this female Costa's hummingbird, who somehow found herself on the wrong side of my vegetable netting.
Which was a euphoric moment because I am an unabashed bird geek. At the age of 27 I bear the signs of early-onset grannyhood with pride. I am still learning my desert birds, but after the quailette episode I am well equipped for the catching and releasing of misguided avians. Quick reflexes while sporting a pair of mule skin gloves is a skill honed during a childhood spent around chickens.
Some facts we should all know about the female Costa's hummingbird:
1. She could fit under an upturned teacup.
2. She decorates her nest with spider webs, feathers, and lichens.
3. She has an average wingspan of four precious inches.
4. Her throat area (which is irridescent violet in the male) is called a gorget, pronounced gor-jit.
5. Her resting heartbeat is 500 to 900 beats per minute.
You see, hummingbirds are small, but they are mighty. And beautiful. Like winged emeralds darting across the desert. Like winged emeralds that need to be photo-documented before gently being released back out into a hummingbird world of wildflower nectar and tiny insects.