nest 42018

Notes on Gratitude 50 for 50 #14

Here’s a brand new shot of mama hummingbird tending her eggs. The nest is directly outside our back door, nestled high in the leaves of a ficus tree. Season’s worth of babies have been nurtured and hatched in this tree, and every year I’m filled with gratitude to witness nature’s bounty.  

Normally, the phases of incubation go off without a hitch, although the 3 week process is stressful to endure. Worry about mama’s and babies’ safety from common predators like cats and other birds is a near constant, and with good reason. We’ve already suffered an avian tragedy. (Read here.)

I’d like to report that I learned my lesson from that experience, and have relinquished my desire to control nature and the circle of life, but I have not. As soon as my husband and I noticed the nest, we launched an internet research campaign to find something—anything—to protect our special family members. This is what we came up with.


Now. I admit that Garden Scarecrow Eagle Decoy with scary flashing eyes and frightening sound pest repellent—motion activated and solar powered—looks pretty darn scary. And we’ve considered the possibility that it may actually scare the very creatures it’s meant to protect. But. Fifty-nine percent of Amazon reviewers rate this sucker 4 out of 5 stars, and upon further research, we discovered that hawks and hummingbirds can co-exist. Hummingbird survival rates increase in areas where hawks are present. I believe this factoid because some website said it was true, and because I want to. We’ve discussed various options for hawk positioning, prominent, but not near the nest. We’ve discussed the need to assess efficacy and a procedure to facilitate change, if necessary. We’ve calculated the risks and are taking every precaution. We're making it work, and I’ll keep you posted.    

It may seem antithetical, at a time when I’m supposed to be practicing self-care, to throw caution to the wind and try to manipulate nature, to hold on tighter when I could instead practice letting go. Wasn’t that the point of my last post, perched as we were on the edge of my girl’s flight to college and our own empty nest? Well, I’ve been known to bang my head more than once against the same wall. Letting go may help me yield to life’s flow, may help me find more peace and alleviate the pain of attachment, but so will launching these babies healthy and happy.         

You can learn more about hummingbirds here and here. More really interesting facts here. I just learned that hummingbird wings work in a figure 8 movement. This movement looks like the infinity sign, which lends to hummingbird symbolism of eternity, continuity, and infinity. 


  1. Such a beautiful picture you got of that hummingbird, Tracey. How precious it is that you and your family have gotten to witness this yearly event. The circle of life & the course of nature can be brutal, in the animal kingdom as well as the human one. As much as one can worry about the what-if's, part of self-care will be to find joy in the moments you watch your little bird family, or when think about these amazing creatures thriving in your back yard. You've taken a precaution this year (good idea, that hawk figurine!) and that's about where your control ends. Enjoy the moments. I say from experience, try not to worry (easier said than done) because that isn't joyful or productive. Worrying bleeds away time that otherwise could have been filled with joy or contentment.

    A memory of my mom just popped into my brain. When I was a kid, my dad normally got home from work at about 5pm. If he was late, my mom would start to panic. She was visibly in distress, and would voice that maybe he had gotten in a car accident. After many occasions of witnessing this, what do you think I did when my boyfriend (who I eventually married), who had a long commute on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, was late getting home from work? I panicked, of course. But every time, he came home unscathed. Maybe traffic was worse than usual. Maybe he wound up talking with his boss for awhile after he'd called to tell me he was leaving the office. Keep in mind this was in the days before we had cell phones (or car phones!).

    That feeling that something bad had happened to my boyfriend was so awful that I needed to find a way to shut down that panic mode. And I did just that, within a few months of us living together.

    After putting myself into a state of frenzy one too many times, I had a good talking-to, to myself. I decided to assume all was well unless I heard otherwise. Wow! What a difference that assumption made.

    We each have the power to overcome our fears. It takes mindfulness and a desire to feel joy or contentment over fear, etc. And practice. Yes, lots of practice. And the better you get at it, the more you see it works, which reinforces keeping up the mindset.

  2. Thank you, Sue. I tried to sneak into Olivia's room and use my long lens to get a shot through the window, but I couldn't get the right angle so I just shimmied out the back door and surreptitiously used my phone! I think she knows we're on her side and as long as we don't make eye contact, she ignores us. I don't know exactly how many generations this is now, but I think somehow knowing us must sort of be encoded into her DNA. I hope so, anyway. And how right you are about worry. Easier said than done, but I continue to work on it. Thank you for sharing that story about your mom and about you. Knowing you..I'd very much like to hear how that talking-to went to yourself, LOL…But seriously, I'm appreciative for the way you continue to be here and share your helpful experiences. The circumstances may be different, but in many ways we all walk the same path. I continue to learn from you and your bravery and your dedication to making your own experience more fulfilling. XOXO

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