On Friday, the Chicago Fire Department had a fire drill at school, right in the middle of an essay test I was giving in my morning class. Because of this interruption the students did not have enough time to finish their writing. The afternoon class was very methodical and did not finish their essays either (without the interruption of a fire drill) so I told both classes that they could complete their work on Monday. The bad news is that the students could not wind up their work and their thinking would be chopped up by a weekend in between. The good news is that I had no papers to grade this last weekend.
Instead I was out and about in nature and not only saw my first Chicago hummingbird, a ruby-throated hummingbird (female because there was no ruby), but also was able to take pictures of it as well! Ah, life is good.
Did you know that the heart rate of a hummingbird can be as high as 1260 beats per minute?! (And I was worried about my heart statistics!) To support the rapid flapping of their wings (15-80 times per second), they need to consume more than their weight each day, which means they need to visit hundreds of flowers supplemented with some insects for protein. They can slow their metabolism down at night to make it until the morning, but otherwise are only hours away from starving at any point during the day (a bit like my son when he was in high school). They are capable of sustained hovering and are the only bird that can fly backwards.
Little did I expect this surprise gift indirectly provided by the Chicago Fire Department. You just never know…