I love birds, and was totally captivated by the birds of Jamaica. Now and again, you find yourself in a close encounter with an inquisitive bird. My family’s close encounter with a blue jay last year is a good example of this unexpected blessing.
Treasure Beach, on the southern coast of Jamaica, was the scene of my first interaction with a bird. In this case I met a Red-Billed Streamer Tail, or as it is better known, the Doctor Bird.
I was walking along the paths of the Treasure Beach Hotel and spotted a small bird nest in the spines of a cactus. I thought the nest, and another I had seen earlier, might be hummingbird nests, but on researching when I arrived home realized they were more likely the nests of one of the other small birds filling the air with birdsong.
The sight of the nest in the cactus filled me with such joy…an unexpected sight for someone who watches birds most often in southern New Jersey. I did what I often do when I am happy, I began to sing as I walked not caring if anyone heard me or not.
Suddenly, I had an audience. A hummingbird feeding on a flower nearby must have liked my song, he buzzed close by me, perched on a branch, and began giving me a thorough looking-over. I continued to sing, and as I sang, he seemed to listen. Lucky me that I can do two things at once. My camera, dangling on my wrist, didn’t scare him away, and I took several photos of him as I serenaded him with my chirpy hymn of praise. (In the Sweet By and By)
Amazingly, I tired of singing before he tired of listening. As I walked away, I took one more photograph of him perched on his branch enjoying the view of the Caribbean sea.