Empty Nesters

Our birds have flown the coop. Technically, they flew the coop more than a week ago, but a lot has gone on between now and then, so I’m only just getting to this hummingbird update.

When we last left the fledglings, they looked like this:

They then apparently got sleepy, as this absurdly cute photo illustrates:

But when these birds are awake, they are onto you. They were perfectly aware of me and watching me with an eagle, er, hummingbird eye the entire time.

As you can see, their wings are really starting to come in and the fluff is disappearing, replaced by real feathers.

At this point, they mostly sat still and tested their wings from time to time.

Oh, and they also poohed like champion distance poopers. Take a look at the wall next to the nest.

All those dark specks are poops, fired like rockets from tiny bird butts. To fully illustrate this, allow me to show you what that window looks like from the inside.

Please note the nest at the top of the picture, complete with beaks. The window to the right is also covered with pooh, in case you were doubting their distance credentials. This is the dark side of hummingbird breeding, just so you’re aware that there are slightly gross costs, as well as benefits.

There was a mild tragedy a couple weeks ago, when a innocent attempt to take a photo of them (by a guest) resulted in a loud shutter noise that frightened the bids. One of them actually flew away at that point, but the other wasn’t ready to go, as it turned out. It fell to the ground and spent some time there. We waited for it to fly, or for the mother to intervene. It shotgun-pooped for us, but other than that, it just sat they watching us.

After a while, I decided I needed to put it back in the nest. You always hear that birds will be abandoned if they smell like people, so I picked it up with a doggie bag, being as gentle as I could. It was so light that I wasn’t sure I actually had a grip on it when I picked it up. It was still and quiet and slipped calmly back into its nest.

I like to this it’s opening its beak to offer a word of thanks on the rescue.

The bird stayed in the nest quietly for a day or so, then we saw it sitting out on the edge like this:

We thought this might mean it was about to leave, but it stayed like this for hours, then got back into the nest. Then climbed back out. It would test its wings from time to time, but it didn’t seem to want to leave.

Then, just as we were about to have the opportunity to show a baby hummingbird to a bunch of little girls, the nest was suddenly empty. We spotted the hummingbird a little distance away, on a bush.

It was definitely the baby. It stayed perched there for a long time, apparently having trouble flying. The mother actually came and fed it while we watched. But the next morning, it was gone. Hopefully, it flew off to happy flower drinking and insect eating.

This is now all that we have on top of our wind chime:

With luck, the hummingbirds weren’t to put off by our paparazzi routine and will return to fill the nest next year. Until then, we have windows to clean.

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One Response to Empty Nesters

  1. Susan Adler says:

    Did you know that Hummers (as they are known) use cobwebs in their nest building so that the nest can expand while the chicks grow without losing it’s shape (like adding elastic to pants!)

    love – Susan

    ps – birds will not be rejected if touched by a human…that’s a ‘bird myth’…:)

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