I held a Hummingbird today!

Trip Start Aug 19, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Sunday, January 6, 2008

I held a Hummingbird today. As I walked out onto our partially screened-in back deck; I immediately saw this spectacular tiny creature clinging to the screen. One wing was splayed open; displaying its jewel like feathers reflecting off the setting sun. The hummingbird had obviously exhausted itself trying to escape - I fear it is dead. Oh no, what have I done. My attempt to force this beautiful Island to conform to my needs...no, wants; has cost this harmless bird its life.
A storm has delayed the arrival of a ship that will bring the rest of the screening needed to complete the enclosure. But my only consideration was for myself and what a nuisance to me; because I have to wait a little longer to be able to keep the doors open to the warm night air; free from the attack of mosquitoes and the morning mess of bat droppings on my deck. The first time I came to Roatan, I stayed at a well manicured resort where their first priority was my comfort. My room was air conditioned and free from critters. I could see the ocean from my deck and I loved to sit out there for hours on end watching the waves break on the reef. I marvelled there were so few mosquitoes bothering me...and then I found out why.
One evening while sitting in the dining room I hear a noise outside; it sounded like the roar of a leaf blower. As the sound comes closer I see a man wearing an outfit that consists of a yellow raincoat, hip waders, a floppy hat and a painter's mask - if this was a horror movie I would run. But wait, maybe it is; because the sound I hear is coming from the tank strapped on his back and the nozzle attached is spraying pesticide into the gardens to combat mosquitoes and other biting insects. Granted the mosquitoes are a nuisance - their blood sucking bites can leave you scratching for hours and the red "smartie" dots left by the sand fleas really stand out on the beach; even if you have a good tan. There is also the problem with malaria but for the most part that can be controlled with medication. So why not spray pesticides? Well I am no scientist or biologist and I can only assume the spray is killing the pests - why else would they use it? But how do they keep the spray from touching lizards, ants, frogs and every other living creature? What about the leaves and flowers that the pesticide rests on and the bees that will be there in the morning collecting the chemically infested pollen or the hummingbirds that will drink from the cone shaped flowers; now turned into toxic cesspools. I spot a beetle running across the table cloth "run little guy, run - but don't go outside, the spray will get you." What about the residue of spray that finds its way into the ocean; what is it doing to the fish, crabs and coral?
I have returned to Roatan and now live here full-time. I made it a priority to find a place that doesn't use pesticides in the gardens. But I always need to remember that MY actions impact the natural balance on the Island. While these thoughts rush through my mind I approach the hummingbird and I reach out to remove it from the screen. My fingers gently move it's splayed out wing so I can cup its tiny body in my hand. My heart skips a beat as I realize that this little jewelled treasure is still alive. The hummingbird's body is warm and its little eyes blink at me as I bring it closer to my face. I cautiously walk to the area of the deck not yet screened -in and open my hand. For a few seconds it stays sitting on my open palm, gathering strength, and then it is gone - flying off to sit in the nearby cashew tree.
I held a hummingbird today! As much as it was a wonderful experience - like so many experiences on this Island are for me. It was also a reminder that I need to proceed with caution with everything I do that may harm my new found home in Paradise.
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