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The thrill of seeing the first hummingbird in my garden has never left me - the sight of this unbelievably tiny creature with striking feathers flitting boldly from flower to flower. To attract other birds, I began growing their favourite plants. Soon, more hummingbirds began visiting my garden from May through late September, before departing for countries with warmer climates. In 1998, the last one left on October 3 - or so I thought.

On October 21, I went outdoors for my early morning chores. Suddenly, I saw a young male hummingbird. I couldn't believe my eyes as I thought these birds should have migrated by then. I quickly looked around the garden as hummingbirds usually need to feed once every ten to fifteen minutes and my garden was bare. This bird would have nothing to eat so I hung out a feeder containing liquid nectar. However, the bird didn't seem to know what to do with it and kept circling a particular spot. Finally, I placed a trail of plants leading to my conservatory, a special room where I grew my flowers. When the hummingbird came inside, I closed the door behind him to keep him safe and then set up another feeder. The bird went from flower to flower before he discovered the feeder. He liked the nectar and fed on it for the rest of the day.

Although I loved the idea of a hummingbird spending the winter in my conservatory, I hesitated to take away his freedom. But I also didn't want him to die. So I called an ornithologist, an expert on birds, for advice. He warned me that this bird was probably not going to live and gave me three choices: I could keep the bird all winter, or I could fatten him up and let him go after a few days, or I could find someone to release him down south where it was warmer. I reasoned that if the bird had nothing outside to eat that day, the next day wouldn't be any better. And sending him south was not practical. However, I could provide suitable living conditions to keep him warm in my conservatory. I named him Squeak because of his constant squeaky chirping.

Offering Squeak a balanced diet now became my main concern. Besides nectar, hummingbirds need protein from insects. The ornithologist then suggested Nektar-Plus. I kept two feeders of this complete diet going at all times. As hummingbirds love to bathe, I also bought a small plastic bird bath for Squeak. But he had different plans as bath time was always a game to him. He would rather slide around on the wet leaves and get his entire body soaked. After bathing, he would fly around the room to dry himself. Once when he became sick, I had to nurse him back to health.

As winter turned to spring, we had strengthened our friendship. Hoping that he would make my garden his territory, I gave him a special treat. I filled a feeder with a particularly sweet solution and held it in my hand. After just one taste, Squeak loved it. He began watching for me and waiting eagerly by the door handle for this treat. By then, he would even allow me to stroke him. I began to spend more time with him.

In early May, the other hummingbirds returned and when Squeak spotted them outside, he became excited, chattering and flying rapidly to and fro. One day, I saw him and another hummingbird hovering beak to beak with the window between them and I knew then what had to be done. As much as I loved having Squeak, I realised that I had to let him go. That morning, as usual, Squeak had a shower after which I opened the door in the conservatory. I then coaxed him with a treat in my hand. He came over for a sip, then flew back inside. He did it again and again. Each time I moved farther away and after much coaxing, he finally came all the way out to where I was. He took a drink, then inspected a plant hanging on the porch. Suddenly he lifted up, flew over the roof of the house - and was gone. My eyes filled with tears. I was sorry for releasing him - yet I also knew it was for the best.

   

Answer the following questions using complete sentences

 

1.

From paragraph 1, what did the writer do to encourage more hummingbirds into her garden ?

 

2.

From paragraph 2,

a) why was the writer surprised to see the hummingbird ?

b) what did the writer put in the feeder for the bird ?

 

3.

From paragraph 3,

a) which word tells you that the writer was not sure what to do with the bird ?

b) of the three choices suggested by the ornithologist, which option did the writer choose ?

 

4.

a) From paragraph 4, what evidence is there to show that Squeak had fun during bath time ?

b) From paragraph 5, give two pieces of evidence to show that Squeak enjoyed his special treat.

 

5.

In your own words, give two reasons why the writer was sad to release Squeak.
 

6.

Based on the passage, writer a summary on how the writer showed her love and care for the hummingbird.

Begin your summary as follows:

To show her love and care for the hummingbird, she ...

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Answers
 

1.

The writer began growing the hummingbirds' favorite plants.

 

2.

a) She thought all the birds would have migrated together.

b) The writer put some liquid nectar in the feeder for the bird.

 

3.

a) The word 'hesitated'.

b) The writer chose to keep the bird warm in her conservatory during winter.

 

4.

a) The evidence is that Squeak is said to treat bath time as a game and would rather slide around on the wet leaves and get his entire body soaked..

b) Evidence 1: He watched and waited for the writer eagerly by the door handle for his treat. Evidence 2: He allowed the writer to stroke him.

 

5.

Reason 1: The writer was sad to release Squeak because she has developed affections for him and a bond with him. Reason 2: She personal loves hummingbirds a lot and this experience was a thrill and joy to her.

  6.

To show her love and care for the hummingbird, she hung out a feeder containing liquid nectar for the hummingbird to feed on. As the hummingbird was confused, she place a trail of plants that led him to her conservatory. The hummingbird began to feed there. After receiving an ornithologist's advice, she decided to keep the hummingbird all winter before letting it go. She tenderly named it 'Squeak' because of its squeaky chirping. She made sure he had a balanced diet and even catered to his love for bath time. She bought a small plastic bird bath for him that he thoroughly enjoyed and treated his bath time as a game. When he got sick, she nursed him lovingly. She also fed him a sweet solution that he loved. (130 words)

 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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