Creative Essays

A Hummingbird Nest in Costa Rica
by Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini

August 1996

After visiting visiting the butterfly garden, we lunched on rice and beans, and then headed to the Canopy Tour. What fun! I haven't been in a harness in such a long time! We climbed 40 feet up into the canopy, through the inside of a strangler fig, which is hollow. Emerging onto a narrow, rickety platform, I found myself in the canopy instead of under it. I was eye-level with a whole new world of bromeliads and other dripping epiphytes. I was actually in a cloud. Exhilirating indeed.

Then we clipped into a pulley that zipped us to the next platform. To slow down, you were supposed to pull down on the wire, just behind the pulley. But there was a problem. I wasn't heavy enough to pull hard on the line, so I almost hit the tree when I came sailing into the next platform. A the second stop, I had the marvelous pleasure to see right into the nest of a Purple-Throated Mountain Gem, which is a type of hummingbird here in Costa Rica. There were at least two eggs tucked in the tiny nest, which was a rich, rusty color. The nest was perfectly and tightly constructed, with mosses and spiderwebs covering the outside. It was supported by criss-crossing vines, sort of like the metal wire that held me up.Suddenly, the mother whooshed in and landed on the nest. After she settled herself in the nest, her tail stuck out like a wren's.

After we zipped to the third platform, we rappelled down a rope. It was over 80 feet back down to the forest floor. I kept stopping to inspect the little wet plants on my way down. I found it incredibly amazing to see the forest from a new angle. I wanted to stay up there for a long time.

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