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Pinkcrested Hummingbird and the Lunarthid Tree


I feel I should confess that when I came out to the badlands, I wasn't sure what I was hoping to find. Wynna and Tulin were making such incredible discoveries lately, and I was striking out everywhere. It felt like everything I came across was something we already had a fair bit of data on, and I wanted to wow everyone with something brand new.

After so much failure, I began to lose motivation. My sleeping became erratic. Eventually, I simply gave up. I had no hope of catching up to my colleagues. In the depths of my sadness, however, I started doing something that I didn't realize I was doing - I began observing again, just like I had when I was younger. I would lie there, on the dirt, just watching. As my sleeping schedule was turned upside down, I was often awake at night, which happened to be the perfect time to observe the lively dramas of the Pinkcrested Hummingbirds.

At first, I simply admired them. It was difficult to stay in a bad mood with these adorable, tiny birds buzzing around with so much energy. Though it was difficult to see under the moonlight, I knew from watching them sleep in their little dens during the day that both the males and females were predominately a pale pink colour with a streak of red going from their throat to the underside of their stomach and boasted long twin tailfeathers that trailed elegantly behind them. The males I could easily pick out for their namesake - the offensively bright pink crest along the tops of their heads, making them a good half inch taller than their female counterparts. Which was a substantial size difference considering they weren't much bigger than a child's fist.

Pinkcrested Hummingbirds, I learned, spend most of their time awake hunting for bugs, eating nectar, making homes in tree trunks, and amusingly, fighting. Their long, sharp beaks prove to be useful both for sparring and for chiselling into wood to make their dens. At first, I assumed this fighting was over mating and territory. And I was correct in this assumption, but not in the way I believed I was.

As I kept observing these birds, I began to notice an emerging pattern - they only made their homes in Lunarthid Trees. Not only that, they only ate nectar from Lunarthid blossoms. I suppose that made sense considering these unique, bioluminescent flowers only bloomed and softly glowed during the night and would close up into neat little buds during the day. Point was, their quarrels were specifically over who would be able to make their home in the best Lunarthid tree, and by extension, attract the best female mates. I'm still unsure what constitutes as a 'better' mate, but the males appeared to be quite selective in who they would allow into their dens.

I do, however, have a fairly good understanding of their tree preferences. I've noticed there is less preference over the height of the tree, so long as it can support a healthy number of branches and blossoms. If you've seen these trees before, you know they can get quite top-heavy. Dozens upon dozens of branches sprout from the thick trunk, rising sideways then upwards. All of these branches are then topped with green growths that are very akin to cacti. It is on these cacti-like tips that the coveted pale, white blossoms all emerge from.

Though there is no preference over tree height (which ranges from around six to nine feet), there is preference over the tree width (which ranges from around four to five feet). This is because the outer layers of the trunk are softer and easier to peck through, therefore leaving the Pinkcrested Hummingbird's beak in better shape to fend off other males who wish to take over their dens.

Luckily, there are plenty of Lunarthid Trees in the badlands, so I'm not concerned about the Pinkcrested Hummingbird's reliance on them for their continued survival. Though I suppose it goes both ways. I'm quite certain they are the only creature that aids in the tree's nocturnal pollination efforts. An ideal example of a symbiotic relationship.

~ Sakino

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