Hummingbirds are among the smallest of the avian species, with some weighing less than a US penny. By rapidly flapping their wings, they can hover in mid-air, and they are the only bird that can actually fly backwards. They get their name from the humming sound made by their whirring wings. They are also quite speedy, as anyone who has watched them can attest. They have been clocked in excess of 15 meters/second (34 mph).
As a child Flossie lived in Iowa where "it gets down to 37 below zero, you know. My mother was a slave and my father was no good. He came and went. She canned fruit to keep us alive." At age 15 Flossie married, but the relationship failed after 18 years. At loose ends, she decided to visit her father who was then living in Washington State. Flossie liked the Northwest US and decided to stay, eventually meeting and marrying her second husband, George. He was a logger and jack-of-all-trades. With a grin, she told how "George could handle anything but electricity. One time he hooked up the electric doorbell, but it made the toilet flush!"
One of the highlights of her marriage with George was the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. "We were just outside the Red Zone when she blew." During her married life Flossie had 5 children, including 2 daughters and 3 sons, all of whom still live in the US. In addition to all of those kids, she raised her half-sister for 11 years. George died after a 17 year marriage, leaving Flossie in tight financial circumstances. George's Veterans Benefits and Social Security were just not enough to live on in high-cost Washington State.
Violet Crowned Hummingbirds
Violet Crowned bird has a similar range to the Broadbill: Southwestern US to Southwest Mexico and is typically a mountain dweller. The female will lay two white eggs in a nest she builds in a tree or shrub. The male is more brightly feathered than the female.
Looking for warmer weather (and lower heating bills), Flossie left Iowa for Arizona with her few possessions stuffed into an old car. After arriving, she lived in the car for a while but eventually acquired a pickup with a camper. Living in her house-on-wheels, she took up residence in the desert outside Yuma. At the time, there was quite a motley crew of "desert rats" scattered throughout the bleak landscape. To stay busy, she worked as a volunteer on a CB network, helping keep track of her more isolated friends. A thrift store provided another volunteer opportunity. "I was always good at sales. I could sell ice cubes to Eskimos."
Arizona's winters were still a bit too chilly for Flossie, and money--as always--was tight. She kept up her search for someplace warmer and cheaper. Finally, she stumbled across a book about low-cost living in Mexico. It sounded interesting and, not long after, she met a man who told her about Ajijic and its nearly perfect climate. About 20 years ago, she packed up again and headed south. Things were still pretty tight, at first, even in Mexico. To make ends meet, she took care of elderly people, house-sat for absentee owners, and did whatever she could to keep body and soul together.