[names and places are fictional]
No one knows who named the thing, but it really is a perfect fit as it represents the precise middle of the bird spectrum between the delicate hummingbird and the predatory raptors. The humming raptor was first spotted by 8 year old Madison Johnson in Port Gray, Washington, as she was playing in her backyard. The girl’s mother said she heard her scream and laugh at the same time, and after running outside, saw the source of her daughter’s emotional confusion.
The humming raptor, a rapidly growing bird species native to the Pacific Northwest, appears normal at first glance. With the head, body, and whirring wings of a hummingbird, it is hard to spot unless one is at just the right angle. During the day, it can be seen searching for nectar among the bright red, tubular shaped flowers in backyards and parks. Dawn and dusk, however, are the best times for spotting these humming raptors, as small rodents and the occasional cat are more likely to be out and about.
Why would that matter?
During the day, large raptor-like feet are tucked up under the bird’s tail feathers, but come evening, the menacing, scaly talons unfold, dangling from the bird’s body like an oversized pair of Incredible Hulk gloves, and swoop down for a meal of protein to end the day. Extremely active birds, they rarely stay in one place long enough to be observed for any significant length of time, yet the Humming Raptor has become the most sought after and studied bird in recent years.
“Though they look familiar to us,” explains leading ornithologist John Newt, “there is still so much that seems to defy the laws of the bird kingdom. For example, how do two opposite bone structures work together to allow the humming raptor to flit about like the hummingbird and then powerfully dive and grasp a fleeing chipmunk? There is also the matter of its digestive system. A daytime diet of sugar followed by a nightly feeding of a substantial amount of protein is rather rare. It’s all very puzzling…..very puzzling indeed.”
Until recently, those who claimed to have seen the elusive humming raptor were deemed as crazy as those who had allegedly spotted leprechauns. Thankfully, ornithologists like Mr. Newt and several bird journals have been validating people like Madison Johnson and her mother as we all try to come to grips with how little we really know about nature.