Tribute to Sassy

“Jewel of Nature”

 

“Jewel of Nature” 
“Phoebe, an Allen’s Hummingbird’s Story”
© Monique F. Rea 2010
 
                              

We were fortunate to watch Phoebe, an amazing architect and hummingbird mother. 

The unfolding drama came from a live cam’s point of view.

We were captured by her beauty and dedication.

A forceful rain and wind storm arrived the same time that her two chicks hatched. The days

following her progeny pearl’s hatching was the beginning of 21 days of intense food

gathering and sheltering from the elements. Phoebe drank sweet nectar from the flowers and

caught tiny insects making a tasty meal for her young as well as for herself.

We were touched by the mother’s attentiveness and in wonder of how tiny her babies were.

Three days after hatching one of her chicks died but Phoebe carried on with feeding her

remaining hatchling. We watched each day Phoebe feeding her chick. We named her,

Sassy. Sassy’s eyes haven’t opened yet but she instinctively opens her short beak for food when

mama whirls into the nest.

Sassy’s eyes open, her little head and body are bare. She’s eager to eat what Phoebe has for her.

We are approaching the second week of observation. There are only some wing feathers

emerging, no feather coat on her back or feather cap. There is expressed concern about Sassy’s

development but Phoebe is still very attentive and feeds her generously.

Serious concern has consumed the viewers. It’s the third week and Sassy has only developed her

wing feathers. She tried to preen her featherless back. She had fallen behind her scheduled

timetable to fledge.

It’s now a month since she hatched. This morning Phoebe has not returned for over an hour and

Sassy is calling. Phoebe comes to her call and feeds her once more.

Her rescue is paramount. Sassy is carefully removed from the nest and taken to a rehab center for

special care. The live cam views an empty nest and Phoebe visits to confirm that her chick is no longer there.

The following day, the news is sad, Sassy has passed away. Her short life intensely touched all of

us who watched from the day she hatched. Love and care were not spared. Phoebe was

determined but the timetable told her she must prepare for new life.

All who knew Sassy will always be grateful to her for sharing her life with them.

May her wings carry her into a hummingbird garden of nectar and forever be a jewel of nature.