THE BIRDS OF HOME

Terry Baum
3 min readMar 24, 2023

I sleep and work in my studio, which I reach by going out my back door and down a half of flight of stairs to the backyard. See the photo right.

As you can see, there is a small tree right across from my studio door. It’s a fuchsia tree. There are some little fuchia flowers hanging down on the right.

For a couple of mornings, I would come out of my studio to go up to the kitchen to make tea, and a hummingbird would be flying around in front of me.

In my self-centered human way, I thought the tiny bird was trying to

communicate with me — “Hello! You’re special! I want to be your friend!”

Something like that. I see a lot of hummers in my garden. In fact, I have a special rule about them, which I call The Hummingbird Rule. When I see one of them darting around, I am required to stop whatever I’m doing and watch it until it flies out of sight.

Come to think of it, that might be the only rule I have that I actually consistently adhere to.

I love hearing that amazing tiny helicopter sound when they’re close.

So. For a couple of mornings, I began my day by having a ruby-throated humming bird dancing in front of my face and then flitting away.

Delightful!

Then I noticed this in the fuchsia tree:

That little blob in the center is my hummingbirds nest.

Then I realized that this tiny being really was trying to tell me something when she stood six inches from my face and chittered at me:

Get the hell away from my nest, you creepy monster!

Having done some Googly research, I can tell you:

Hummingbirds build velvety, compact cups with spongy floors and elastic sides that stretch as the young grow. They weave together twigs, plant fibers, and bits of leaves, and use spider silk as threads to bind their nests together and anchor them to the foundation. It takes the mama up to seven days to build the nest…

A nest that stretches made with spider silk. Oh, if only I’d seen her building it!

I am so greedy, aren’t I? Not satisfied with having an actual hummingbird nest outside my door, I want more, more, more!

How did she build a nest in such a visible place without my noticing?

Here is the location of the nest in relation to my house:

And finally, a day after I discovered the nest, I actually saw Mama Hummer in it:

She’s out there right now. I just checked. She doesn’t seem to mind my standing and looking. I’m not trying to get real close. I’d have to get a ladder to look inside the nest. I’m not going to do that.

Isn’t evolution absolutely wonderful? What a world we live in! What an astounding multiplicity of species! And one of the more spectacular species has built a nest right outside my studio door! Really, you never can tell what gifts will be bestowed on you.

Hummingbirds!

And a final image: My own Mama Hummer in the rain. You can see a drop of water glistening at the end of her beak.

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Terry Baum

Terry Baum is an actress, director, teacher, filmmaker, political activist, and award-winning lesbian playwright. Her blog BAUMBLOG is a “Top 100 LGBTQ Blog.”