In the very likely event you missed this HBird post by Anthony Mann on April 1st (nah, it couldn't be a joke), I thought you'd get a kick out of it, particularly you people with black labs.
We had one of these cool little nests on our porch one summer, and watched three little beaks being fed by their parents for several weeks. All our neighbors even came for a looksee, it was simply amazing.
Well, I was there the day the little hummers decided to fly, and for all the effort that the parents put in to getting to this one day, well let me just say it was over in a blur. On their first flight out of their nests baby humming birds simply leave and never look back at their homes or their parents. Ours flitted about on the porch for a moment while they figured out their flight controls and then two of them hovered into the yard and disappeared.
The third, well he got an unexpected mid-flight dog bath.
Our black lab, which was sleeping on the porch while all this was happening, suddenly awoke to the sound of something buzzing around in front of his face, and so he instinctively snapped and much to our horror caught the little bird inside his mouth! Luckily, labs are known for their soft touch and we managed to get him to cough up a wet, drool-covered baby hummingbird. After a wash and a tissue dry, the little bird briefly scratched his head and cleaned off his beak with his foot and then he buzzed away into the sky.
That was the beginning of one of those really great summers!
Interestingly enough, my experience has been nothing like Anthony's. The birds are still in my garden and to my surprise, extremely comfortable around my own wildlife. My alleged labradoodle was lying on the ground right beneath her, and the beagle...well, the beagle...let's just say she's not something birds need worry about.
So...rats with wings...anyone get why my (as yet unnamed) colleague calls them that?