I have a fondness for the very small.
Awe for those, who, despite their tiny size, accomplish feats of gargantuan proportion.
Completing a round trip journey each year, over a pathway of a thousand miles, from their winter months’ stay in Central America, to arrive at my window each spring—
weary travelers, reminding me a feeder is expected, hanging in this very spot, readied with clean nectar, from which to sip.
As each small bird is caught in the trap, it is quickly removed and restrained in a small tube--the little gem, tucked head-first into a safe, dark place. Wings held closed and still.
Carefully, the numbered band is placed above her foot, and gently tightened.
Tail measurements are taken and the bill examined with a hand lens to determine age. Etchings along its length, from the rapid growth of nestlings, are worn away over time as these tiny birds feed, each brush of their slender bills against the tube of a feeder or flower, smoothing growth ridges gradually away.
Next, the throat is examined for feather color, another indicator of the little bird’s age. And with a quick puff of air against her body, feathers blown aside to check for body fat, yellow peeking through her translucent pink skin.
She seems quite calm through all this, the firm but gentle handling quieting her.
Warm morning sunshine reflecting the lovely iridescent green of her back.
And, in silence, all eyes watch, and marvel at such a tiny one so close.
Until she is held in an open palm to be released,
and, with a burst--is gone.
Safe travels, little one.