Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Prologue: a couple of months ago my boy kitty acquired a hummingbird in a less-than-good-for-hummingbirds way. I freed it, put it in a box with water and waited the night. The next day I had a box of dead hummingbird. And atrocious, heart-crushing guilt. (and a boy kitty with bells hanging off his collar.)

Cut to Saturday: I’m sitting with kitties out in my yard, soaking up the sun and reading my guilty-pleasure graphic novel and just enjoying the lack of work I’m at. And no where near the big, shiny glass windows of my house, so neither I nor my kitties can be blamed for the hummingbird that cracked his head into the window and landed – thunk! – on the walk in front of the house.

At first both kitties and I just sat there watching the wee thing plop onto the ground and kind of roll around sloppy-like. We were all “blink, blink, blink… is that a bird?” And then it was ON! A MAD DASH between me and kitties racing for the hummer, with me crying out “NoNoNoNoNoNoNONONONONO KITTIES NOOOOO!!!” all the wailing was enough for girl kitty, who basically said “screw this” and detoured to the driveway. The boy kitty beat me to the bird, but as he’s still new to hunting and hasn’t had me take away that many conquests yet he didn’t know enough to grab it and run. So I got to them before he’d done much more than circle it all curious-like.

I sat down by the hummingbird, who was quite clearly stunned but otherwise look unscathed. EXCEPT that her wings were… wrong. They didn’t look broken per se, but they weren’t sleeked up along her body. They looked like they’d stuck in the “flap on” position when she smacked the window, only they weren’t flapping. They were more at the flap ready? Anyway, she was blinky and woosy and for a while she kept kind of lolling over to the side in a SUPER-DISCONCERTING way! Like she was swooning or maybe even about to plop over all a-faint! She never plopped, but it still freaked me out.

My whole job was basically to keep kitty boy on the other side of my graphic novel, which was now playing the part of “movable wall” between he and birdy. Birdy just sat there, looking so unlike a hummingbird. Kind of squat. And STILL. I sincerely hope to never see a hummingbird look that still again – creepy. But she neither flopped over succumby nor did she recover. She just coasted. For the LONGEST time.

And I’m sitting here thinking “last time this was a sad story. Plus also why do these things always do this as the sun is setting? They can’t hang out in my house overnight and I can’t let them go at night! Note to the rest of the hummers in the neighborhood: please do any future injuries or maladies in the morning or afternoon! No more evening traumas please!”

Finally hummer started to look like things were righting themselves. Less blinking and faster breathing (which for any other species would seem bad, but not for hummers) and I just really wanted her to put her wings away. Because they still looked SO WRONG. So here is me, gently coaxing her wings with the tippy-tip of my pinky finger (because I had apparently decided that was the safest way to move around things built of bones the size of dental floss), just sweet-talking them into laying more flat and wing-like.

And after about 10 minutes of sitting and 20 seconds of wing coaxing (which had resulted in a net wing movement of pretty much hardly nothing) Ms. Hummingbird looked me right in the eye and evaporated! POOF! Reappearing on the branch of my front tree. MIRACLE CURE! And HAPPY ENDING!* YAY!

*Note: Boy Kitty would like to dispute the “happy ending” ruling on this story, and is petitioning to have the final paragraph changed to read “tragic, heartbreaking and so completely unfair ending. Dammit.” Ruling is pending.

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