Bird Watcher's General Store

No Birds in Guam - 10/07/05


Dear Bird Folks,

I still have a hummingbird that is coming to my flowers. Isn't it kind of late? What can I do to help this bird go south?"

- Tammy, Eastham

Oh Tammy,

It sure is late, that bird should have been in Central America a month ago. If you are heading to Costa Rica in the next few days, offer it a lift. They don't take up much room or eat much, you'll just have to explain the constant humming sound coming from your bags to airport security.

I know this will sound a bit harsh, especially coming from a bunch of tree huggers like us, but you probably shouldn't do anything. This bird is on its own. For some reason, your hummer missed its opportunity to migrate. It could have hatched toward the end of the season, it may have been ill or injured when it was time to migrate, or maybe it just overslept. Whatever the reason, it probably won't be going to the wintering grounds this year and it's unlikely it will be around to breed in the spring. And that is the key to a successful species. Only the top of the line are around to breed each year and the others end up in the food chain.

As cruel as that sounds, it is better that way. Because if the less qualified are able to breed, then we end up with a species that doesn't know how to drive in a traffic rotary or can't figure out how to use an election ballot. And nobody wants another species like that.



Artwork by Catherine Clark


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