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Review: A book about hummingbirds that looks zippy and fun to them

This cover image released by Atria shows “The Gift of the Hummingbirds: Wonder, Beauty and Renewal on the Wings,” by Sy Montgomery.


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By ROB MERRILL Associated Press

The Gift of the Hummingbirds, by Sy Montgomery (Atria Books)

As light and zippered as its titular bird, The Hummingbirds Gift: Wonder, Beauty and Renewal on Wings is a lovely way to spend about an hour this spring. Fans of Sy Montgomery may have read it as a chapter in Birdology (2010) before, but if you get there coldly, the rescue and rehabilitation of Maya and Zuni will warm your heart while making you an avid bird watcher. armchair.

The true story takes place in the summer of 2008, when Montgomery travels from Manchester, New Hampshire, to San Francisco to meet storytelling hero Brenda Sherburn. A 5-foot-3 powerhouse with dark bangs and a pageboy, Sherburn has dedicated part of his life to healing hummingbirds. That’s right, these tiny buzzing birds, the smallest of which weighs only a gram and the largest, classified as an Andean giant, only 8 inches long are the most vulnerable birds in the sky and there are has people like Brenda who take abandoned or injured babies in an attempt to feed them in the wild.

As Montgomery recounts her adventures with Brenda and the Hummingbirds, she shares dozens of fun facts about the birds the Aztecs believed to be reincarnated warriors and the Portuguese call Flower Fuckers. Did you know that there are at least 240 different species, these are the only birds that can hover and fly backwards, and their forked tongues are so long that they extend to the back of the skull and are found above the bone when they are not used to nectar from the knees?

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