Hummingbird down

Dear President Trump,

This morning when I took the dogs for a walk there was a perfectly intact dead hummingbird sitting on the sidewalk in front of our next-door neighbor’s house. With the dogs in tow (or really, me in tow), I couldn’t stop and study it right then but after we got back I went out there again and looked at it for quite a while. Its eyes were open and it really seemed to just be sitting there resting. There was no sign that it had been hurt by anything or that it flew into something so maybe it just died of old age or maybe it ate something that made it sick and killed it.

I’m pretty sure this was a male hummingbird because it was quite brightly colored and even had a bit of a pinky-ruby throat. The pattern of the feathers on its head was beautiful, overlapping layers of greys giving way to yellows and then to lime greens. It was also sort of a chubby little thing, though that could be an artifact of all its weight being settled down on the ground rather than being held up by contracted muscles and ligaments as would be the case if it were alive. I wish I’d thought to pay better attention and maybe measure its beak, but it was an impressively black spikey thing, probably a good inch, which on such a small thing is pretty long.

I’m not sure why I feel the need to tell you so much about this dead hummingbird. Maybe it’s the novelty of having come across one at all, maybe it’s that hummingbirds aren’t supposed to sit down on the sidewalk and die, maybe it’s that it I’m worried this is a harbinger of more bird deaths to come in the wake of your decision to undermine the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and not hold corporations and people responsible for bird deaths no matter how careless they were as long as they say they were unintended. Probably it’s all of this plus just wanting to honor the little being in some way. I thought about burying it and maybe marking the spot with a stone, but I couldn’t bring myself to disturb it and also thought maybe a crow or a cat would be able to have a meal if I left it there for them. I checked a bit ago and the body is gone so maybe it’s on its way to becoming something else now.

May we keep birds safe.
May we be happy to take care so the world is safe for birds.
May we rework our priorities so that healthy birds are more important than cheap oil pits.
May we remember the canary in the coal mine (or the hummingbird on the sidewalk) may be foreshadowing what’s in store for us.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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