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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, March 31, 2017

a hummingbird interlude

From a 1908 memoir of beloved pets, mostly injured wild birds:  Marshall Saunders recalls a brief sojourn with a young hummingbird.
One summer evening a man brought me a young humming-bird, and said that his cat had caught it, but fortunately he had been able to rescue it before any harm had been done. The little bird was cold and feeble, and, taking him in my hand, I put his head against my face. After the manner of young hummingbirds with their parents, before they leave the nest, he put his tiny bill into my mouth and thrust out an extremely long and microscopic tongue in search of food.
He soon discovered that he was not with his parents.  I had neither honey nor insects for him. However, I did the next best thing, and sent to a druggist for the purest honey that he had. In the meantime, I put my tiny visitor on the window-boxes. The old hummingbirds must have taken all the honey, for he seemed to find nothing there to satisfy him until I put some of that the druggist sent into the blossoms. I held them to his bill, and he drank greedily, then, after looking around the room, he flew up to a picture-frame, put his head under his wing, and went to sleep.
The next morning at daylight I looked up at the picture. The humming-bird woke up, said “Peep, peep!” a great number of times, in a thin, sweet voice, no louder than a cricket’s chirp, but did not come down. I got up, filled a nasturtium with honey, pinned it to a stick, and held it up to my little visitor, who was charmed to have his breakfast in bed. Finally, he condescended to come down, visited other flowers and had more drinks, then I opened the window and told him he was too lovely and too exquisite an occupant for an aviary, and he had better seek his brilliant brothers of the outer air.

-- Saunders, M. (1908). My pets; real happenings in my aviary. Toronto: The Ryerson Press. 235-6.

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