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Monday, August 20, 2007

Magic at Day 8, the day I first laid eyes on him and gave Sherri a crash course in hummingbird care.

It takes a lot of trust to hand a bird you've raised--a hummingbird, no less--over to someone else for release. My hat's off to Sherri, who realized that Magic was better off out here than he would have been in her back yard in a heavily settled section of town. She'd poured everything she had into this bird since July 16--and I know how much that is.

If I could put a cartoon balloon on this shot, I'd have Sherri say, "My life has been turned upside down by a bird THIS BIG."
She'd worried over his nutrition, his condition, his housing; she'd ground up mealworms for his formula and put a screen tent up in her backyard and had supplied him with flowers and rotting fruit to attract fruit flies; she'd brought him in when the weather got unbearably hot and thought about him every single minute. She'd brought him to within a week of independence. And now she had to take a leap of faith.
And yet I could tell there was something liberating in handing her charge over to my care. She was so happy; I would have been too. She brought our mutual friend Smokestack Betty for the ride. Betty was playing and singing the blues in this area when we moved here 14 years ago and she's still playing, wherever she can find a crowd that will listen. Betty's musical inspiration is Melanie. She asked Melanie to sign her shoulder at a concert, and then had it immortalized in tattoo ink. Here, Sherri's laughing, and Betty's showing me her tat:

I'm thankful to have friends who do things. Who reach out to rescue exotic birds; who play music in bars and restaurants, who develop their natural talents and help the less fortunate.
Sherri and Betty qualify.

Chet Baker couldn't stand the thought that there was something going on in the screen tent that didn't include him. We heard a sibilant sound from the zipper and Chet was making his way in.
He's no threat to a hummingbird; wouldn't think of molesting one. We let him in. Magic was fine with that. Fifi. Change out of your jammies, willya?

I had some geraniums already in the tent and it didn't take Magic long to zoom in on them.Crop full, he retired to a perch, where he ran his noodle-like tongue in and out, emptying his crop and savoring a second go at spicy geranium nectar.


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