“The Hummingbirds’ Reward,” by Sy Montgomery (Atria Books)
As slight and zippy as its titular chicken, “The Hummingbirds’ Reward: Marvel, Magnificence and Renewal on Wings” is a fantastic option to spend an hour or so this spring. Sy Montgomery followers could have already learn it as a chapter in “Birdology” (2010), however in case you’re coming to it chilly, the rescue and rehabilitation of Maya and Zuni will heat your coronary heart whereas making you into an armchair ornithologist.
The true story takes place in the summertime of 2008, when Montgomery travels from Manchester, New Hampshire, to San Francisco to satisfy the story’s hero, Brenda Sherburn. “A 5-foot-3 powerhouse in darkish bangs and a pageboy,” Sherburn devoted a part of her life to hummingbird rehabilitation. That’s proper — these tiny, buzzing birds, the smallest of which weighs only a gram and the most important, categorised as an Andean “large,” measures solely 8 inches lengthy — are essentially the most weak birds within the sky and there are folks like Brenda who absorb deserted or injured infants in an try and nurture them again into the wild.
As Montgomery relates her adventures with Brenda and the hummingbirds, she shares dozens of enjoyable details in regards to the birds Aztecs believed have been reincarnated warriors and the Portuguese name “flower kissers.” Do you know there are at the least 240 completely different species, they’re the one birds that may hover and fly backward, and their forked tongues are so lengthy they prolong to the rear of the cranium and lie on high of the bone after they’re not getting used to lap nectar?
It’s all fairly fascinating and takes about as lengthy to learn as a superb nap. Whereas readers will cheer for the 2 infants as they overcome numerous obstacles on their option to rejoining nature, Montgomery sees within the strategy of caring for them a parable of types. If we will care sufficient in regards to the “most gossamer of birds,” she writes, then maybe we will “heal our candy, inexperienced, damaged world.”
Rob Merrill, The Related Press