It all began with a single injured animal. Catia Lattouf’s Mexico City apartment is now a refuge for sick hummingbirds.
A Mayan legend warns of the curses that will befall any mortal who cages a hummingbird. In Catia Lattouf’s Mexico City apartment, they flit about freely, their wings a blur, as they beat the sky 50 times per second.
Lattouf, still grieving for her husband’s death and recovering from her own close call with death due to colon cancer, took in a hummingbird that was injured 12 years ago. A fight with a larger, feathered bully cost the tiny creature’s eye. Lattouf’s bird, named Gucci for the designer spectacles case he was kept in, proved to be her salvation.
Lattouf, whose voice was breaking, recalled that there were times when she didn’t want him to play, but he would fly on my head, my shoulder or sit in my front. “It was a sign of love.”
Lattouf has been a bird expert in Latin America for years. His home is now a makeshift clinic that treats sick, injured, or infant hummingbirds.
She cares for up to dozens of these vital pollinators, and is establishing a foundation that will train the next generation of hummingbird-worshipers.
She said, “Gucci has written a new chapter in my life.” “I made a commitment to protect the Earth and humanity. I know I will live another 20 or so years, but this legacy must one day continue without me.
Image: Fernando Llano