The young hummingbirds were just about ready for life in the real world, and their feathers were nearly developed enough to take them from their nest permanently. After they wrestled in the nest that now appeared too small for the both of them to fit, they jumped to the surrounding branches while their mother had one last set of instructions for her young before they would encounter the world of dangers and independence.
You've had it easy until now. I've spent every minute of your lives catering to your every need, and I've just about had enough. The two of you have been driving me crazy and it's about time you learn how difficult life will be. I've protected you from dangers that you aren't even aware exist. Many of these dangers look like you but are much bigger, and they have really bad intentions. They can hover gracefully on the wind but are much slower and clumsy when going through the trees. Just avoid them. There are others that are just a bit bigger than you, and they can be quite annoying. They do this thing called playing, and it serves no purpose. It's where they chase each other around in the trees trying to catch each other, and it just uses up energy, although they do appear quite happy. We were not made for that kind of stuff, we were made to be angry, very angry. You will meet others like yourselves, and they will also appear content in their anger. When they chase you, it's not for fun. They'll mean business and will bite you in the back side if you allow them, and trust me, it hurts. They tend to do this to protect their food source. So when you find something of value, keep them away as well, and do not share.
I've got a few tricks to teach you. You'll know what flowers are, but you'll find these beautiful, colorful things sporadically hung across the country. They don't look like anything else, but they contain a food that never seems to run out... and boy is it tasty! When you find these things make sure you try them out, but watch out for the angry one who watches over them. He always seems to be a bit cranky. Another thing, if you're feeding from one of these fancy things and the angry one shows up, play it cute. Act as though you're not aware you're doing anything wrong. Sometimes the angry one will give you a break, but this won't last.
Son, I want you to dwell on your anger, and don't hold anything back. If you're angry, make the world aware of it. Don't let anyone push you around, and don't be generous with your food. The world revolves around you and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You will become handsome with brilliant colors. Every living thing on the planet will look at you in wonder. Display it proudly.
And to you my daughter, avoid all the nonsense that goes on with the others. Be stealth in everything you do, and avoid those boys. They can be trouble but incredibly charming. They've got lots of color, and are they ever attractive. Whatever you do, don't look at the throat. It's the most brilliantly colored thing you will ever encounter. If you stare at it you will be under their spell. Again, I stress this, don't look at the throat!
I will lose my temper with you very soon. As a matter of fact, you're both getting on my nerves as I speak. I will teach you where the food is, but shortly after you'll be on your own. On occasion, you'll encounter these strange beings that walk around on two legs. They're the ones that hang out those fancy red things. They oftentimes won't see us, but when they do they frequently scream and run in all directions. They're a bit nuts but appear to be nice. However, I'm not quite sure about them yet.
Finally, be angry. Take what doesn't belong to you but do it like a ninja, and for goodness sake, when you live your lives on your own, remember each day - eat lots of sugar before dinner!
A mother Ruby-throat and her two young. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Author of Jewel of the North. Please post your comments and questions.