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Baja California Information Pages

Stories by Mike Humfreville

Birds and Bees    ( Posted October 31, 2005 )

This morning the southern part of Bahia de Los Angeles was calm. I could see wind churning the Gulf to the north but it was quiet here. I'm just beginning to learn the process of integrating into our environment. That's important to me, but I don't have much time.

A west wind this time of year seems to bring flies. They're a real pain and I don't mind swatting them. Like mosquitoes that won't leave you alone. I don't like killing anything but perhaps there are just too many of certain beasts to live amongst? Perhaps that includes the human race I wonder. Are we doing more harm than good for our Earth?

Our doors and windows are always open and we have no screens to keep animals out of the house. The most common of these are bees and birds. I have a coaster, the kind that you place under a vase on a table, and a small glass that I use to move the bees from inside to outside our house. It works and doesn't harm the bees if I'm careful to not damage their legs and other extremities and they fly away to the north on some unknown agenda in the early mornings when I release them from our confines. The birds are another issue.

While occasional Orioles and Sparrows fly in and fly out, they are no problem. It's the hummingbirds that are the focus of my attention. Apparently hummingbirds cannot see glass. They fly directly into windows and closed glass doors.

Our neighbor and now friend made me a net of delicate webbed fabric that I attached to an extended length of Cordon rib. The extension is about ten feet in length. The net is about ten inches in diameter. When a hummer enters our house and cannot find a way out I wait for a time until it tires and then grab the net and try to gently remove it. But they are assertive and determined and won't quit and accept assistance. Of course Nature seldom provides that commodity. Maybe that one single thing is what the human race can offer up?

But I'm busy integrating. I try and catch the hummer in my small net. I can accomplish this feat occasionally, but not often.

But I'm the new guy on this block and I'm learning. Learning is good. Occasionally I have touched the tiny hummingbird with the edge of the hoop of the net that my friend has built for our use. I'm learning that the bird, perhaps sensing the firmness of the small wire or the resistance of the webbing, will simply stop flying and settle gently onto the closest horizontal platform, e.g., a window sill. Having done that, the hummer remains in what I'll call a trance for a minute or two. Perhaps it's exhausted. Perhaps afraid. I have no clue. But if I can get to it immediately by placing a chair just so and gently wrapping my hand around it, it remains awake and alert but will permit me to carry it to the nearest unscreened window or door. When I relax my gentle grip the hummer stirs, focuses, and quickly flies away.

And at night, with the small lights we light for one reason or another, the bats fly in and fly out. But they are not confused by glass as they rely not on eyesight but on radar or hearing or whatever we call it. They come and go and serve us by consuming insects that might otherwise bite and poison us.

I think it is a perfect world if we just learn to fit within it.

All of us beasts together.

Copyright 2003-2006 Mike Humfreville

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