An adventure from my friend Darline, proving adventure is as close as your back door. Thank you Darline for letting me post your story! Check out photo album that accompanies blog entry.
Darline’s hummingbird babies Spring 2009 Alamogordo NM
5/8/09 Look what we discovered on our front porch today!! A mama hummingbird has decided to nest on one of the metal supports right outside the front door. She was fussing and fussing with the nest and later was moving around kind of funny — made me wonder if she was laying the eggs at that time. She’s very skittish so I had to take the pictures from inside through the glass and not good light. Seems like a strange place for a nest, but it will be neat to watch.
In case you’re wondering, I haven’t had time to figure out what kind of hummer she is.
5/16/09 It is the 10th. day since we first saw the hummingbird nest on our front porch. Mama is a Black-Chinned hummingbird. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/black-chinned_hummingbird/id I’ve been trying to resist the temptation to get up on a ladder and try to peek in for fear of disturbing her — until today. I couldn’t see in so finally resort to a mirror. As you can see, there are two eggs. They should be hatching in the next few days as I read that it is between 13 and 16 days.
She’s been a really good mama and we have been so much enjoying watching her through the storm door. We try not to disburb her any more than necessary. When we had a dinner party the other day, I made everyone come in and out through the garage.
It’s kind of neat how defensive she is of her nest. We have seen her at least four times attacking much larger birds that she deemed to be too close to her nest. Most were 15 – 20 feet away at the time. And by gosh, she chased them away, too.
Oh yes, one more thing — I worried about her shallow nest at the beginning; however, as you can see she has expanded it. I think it must be very flexible with all the spider webs and plant fluff she used.
5/23/09 Excitement!! One egg has hatched. The chick was so scrunched up, I couldn’t get a very good picture of it. I’ve lightened it up quite a bit. It appears the chick has a short light colored bill just now – probably to break the shell. There was a piece of eggshell laying close by. I don’t know when it will grow its longer bill. I would expect the other egg to hatch soon???
We first saw the nest 17 days ago, but not sure when she laid the eggs.
It’s been very hard to get a good photo of the mama with the poor lighting under the porch roof, back lighting, and having to shoot through glass, but caught her May 18 just as the sun was popping over the mountain and lit up most of her.
It’s interesting that she seems to have her established feeding spot or spots. Even though I put another feeder in the tree near her about three weeks ago, I’ve only seen it used once — not even sure it was her. I don’t know where she is feeding, but she is not often gone and never for any length of time. It may be a different story as the chicks get a little bigger and demand to be fed. I had a hanging basket of petunias on the porch, but they got battered by the wind so replaced today them with some red ones that were blooming nicely. It will be interesting to see if she goes over to them. I did some research and it listed petunias as one of the annuals that hummers like.
5/25/09 The first photo gives an overall view through our front storm door to get a better idea where the nest is. Doesn’t she look tiny up there? That bracket on the support is for the flag so you can understand why we didn’t display it this Memorial Day. ;-))
Things changed yesterday as the Mama started being gone more and feeding the little one or ones (not sure if the second egg has hatched yet or not). She mostly sits on the side of the nest to do this, but saw her hovering a couple times also.
I got a photo this morning in the short window of lighting opportunity of Mama facing the opposite direction from the other one I posted. Son Chris got some good shots recently of both a female and male black chinned hummer. He gave me permission to post them which I will do later.
5/27/09 These photos were taken by our son, Chris, while we celebrated Mother’s Day at our daughter Joan’s house in the country. I think they’re great!! Joan and Ed have lots of birds and wildlife around even if it is in the desert.
This is the same kind of hummingbird as our Mama on the front porch. I saw her flying back and forth this morning over and over again. I wondered what the heck she was doing. Then I looked down and saw she was after a dove innocently walking on the ground several yards from the nest. The dove took its time, but finally decided it was in its best interest to leave…..
5/28/09 Well, I got up on the ladder and using the mirror, peeked in the nest this afternoon. As you can see, they are all nestled up together and hard to tell what’s what. I think the two heads are on opposite sides to each other — or that’s the way it looks to me.
Also, I went out early this morning when the sun was on the back feeder, arranged a chair for the best angle, sit down with camera in hand, and waited. Several black-chinned hummers came by including a male; however, they seemed to want to feed on the other side. After 20 minutes, just as I was about to give up along with my camera battery — WAH LAH — I got this shot of a female which may or may not be our Mama.
6/5/09 It will soon be a month since we first saw the hummingbird nest (May 7). We can easily see the chick’s long bills sticking up (remember how they were yellow and stubby to start with). It is also evident that one is larger than the other since they hatched out on different days.
We see little of the Mama Hummer now — only to occasionally feed the little ones. If it meant sitting on those long pointy bills, I don’t think I would want to sit on them either…..LOL I guess they don’t need her to keep them warm as much now with the tiny feathers they are getting and all crowded up together to keep each other warm.
6/7/09 Here is the feeding sequence in silhouette. Because of the lighting situation, in silhouette is about the only way I can get it most of the time. Anyway, I think it gives a little different perspective.
6/7/09 cont. I climbed up on the ladder this morning to get these photos of the chicks during the very short time when the light is on them. I only used the mirror on the last one (Reflection).
We are now able to see more of them from below. Sometimes when they’re moving around, we can see bits of wing and tail. They’re so darn cute!!! We see little of the Mama now — just to feed them and have seen her several times chasing off other birds.
6/10/09 Here are some more photos to update the baby hummers. It’s now been 34 days since we first saw the nest. They are moving around more and the bigger one sometimes seems to be trying to get out of the nest.
In the first photo (2 Beaks), I thought it looked like one bird with two beaks — one growing out of his head like a unicorn….LOL
The second (Feathers Developing) shows the difference in the feather development between the two chicks. One is older, but I don’t know for sure by how much. Its neck feathers are much smoother.
The third (Mirror Shot) is mostly for fun and to give a little different perspective.
And the last (From yard) is still from up on the ladder, but instead of on the porch, I’m in the yard looking back toward the house. That is better lighting. I couldn’t use that position for the Mama because it didn’t take much to spook her, but the chicks don’t seem to care. They do seem to be watching me when I’m out there though or at least it feels that way.
6/13/09 Here’s an update on the hummingbird chicks. They stay in the nest 21 days after hatching. Of course, I don’t know exactly when they hatched, but do know it has been 19 days since I took the photo of one as a hatchling and the other still in the egg.
You can see from the photo that they have the adult eye markings. They appear to be as large or larger than the Mama. It has just been the last few days that there are a lot of small droppings around. How strange that they have it up on the side of the support. It looks like they or the Mama have been "flinging" the stuff out of the nest. I have not actually witnessed this; however, so not sure how that happened.
The YouTube video is short and not the greatest quality, but the best I could do under the circumstances. I waited the whole 15 or 20 minutes of the good light this morning and all they did was sit quietly. They have gotten wary of me when I go outside and become still, which is a good thing really for their survival. Makes it hard to get good videos though. Little buggers!
The other photo was taken early this morning at the back feeder and may or may not be the Mama.
6/14/09 It was a busy day yesterday for both the Mama and the chicks. The Mama was there much more frequently yesterday, but for shorter feeding sessions. Strangely, today we have seen little of her.
Yesterday, the chicks were very active with much wiggling, preening, and testing of wings.
This morning I got up to find one sitting on the edge of the nest and at times the other one was partially out of the nest, too. The older one has spent a lot of the day sitting on the side or even next to it, but when I looked just now (almost 1:00 p.m. here), they were quiet and both nestled down in the nest. I’m really surprised the older one has not flown away by now.
I have posted another video of this morning’s testing of wings. Because of the lighting, it is in silhouette. I think it’s funny the way the wind from the older one’s wings is blowing around the feathers of the other one. And the younger ones seems to be saying "Hey. Will you quit already! I just preened my feathers!!!". LOL
6/15/09 Sorry to keep you in suspense, but it’s been a busy day (our 52nd. anniversary/electrical work going on/cleaning out a closet, etc., etc.)
I got up early this morning wondering about the hummingbird chicks. I had expected that the older one might be gone, but really thought the younger one would still be in the nest — not so. At first I didn’t see them anywhere, but then I caught a movement through the sheers on the window. There was the Mama and older chick flying around the porch.
Then I noticed that the younger one was sitting on some agave seed pods that are affixed to the other porch support. It stayed there a while and then flew over to a nearby rose bush and sat on a dried up yellow rose. After it sat there a long time, I started getting worried that it really wasn’t ready to leave the nest yet. I felt much better after the Mama came and fed it a couple times.
In the meantime, I saw the older one several times — at the feeder, flying around, and once it was sitting on top of our SUV’s luggage rack.
I’m taking photos from inside the house so as not to disturb anything and getting frustrated with the lighting situation. Then the electrician arrived and walked right past the baby on the rose bush and it did not react at all. That told me that I could go outside to take pictures of the younger one when the others weren’t around. I couldn’t believe it let me get so close I could have picked it up — but didn’t, of course.
To be continued……
The baby hummer sat on the dried yellow rose for a long time. Then it moved to a very short "limb" on down the stem. It sit there for some time also. I had to go take care of some other matters and when I returned, it was gone. I first saw them about 6:45 and now it was 10:30 or so. Though I saw a hummingbird a couple more times, I think it was the Mama. It’s now almost 3:00 p.m. and I haven’t seen them any more. I can only hope it is up in the tree or somewhere safe and that the Mama is still keeping an eye on it. The older one appears to be just fine as far as I can tell.
We’re going away this evening so I will probably not see them again until possibly in the morning at the feeders. I’ll just have to wait and see.
All that is left of them at the nest is one lone feather. Of course, I had to get the ladder out to see what it looked like inside the nest. It was surprisingly clean.
Anyway, what a great experience it has been to watch all this so up close and personal. Maybe we’ll see them some more and who knows, they may return to us next year although we might not be able to tell for sure is they are our babies (Charlie & Amelia…LOL).
I took a very short video of the little one on the dried yellow rose. If you turn the sound up, you can hear it chirping for its mother. You will hear other birds in the background. For instance, I’m pretty sure I heard a robin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMpzgVthfQU