The backyard drops away from where our house sits on the hill. Because of that, our view from our windows is at, if not treetop level, certainly a tree-house level. From the bay windows around our kitchen table, I can watch birds while I eat. Since I spend a fair amount of time doing that on a daily basis, I witness things in the woods I might miss were I not watching.
Like this little hummingbird, for example.
“That little bird really likes to land at that spot,” I said to Mark. “I’ve seen it in that same exact spot several times in the past couple of days.”
I wanted to get it’s picture so I zoomed in with my camera, but the little lady wasn’t there.
I didn’t realize it immediately, but you may have guessed. She was making a nest.
It looks more like a nest when she is sitting on it.
She doesn’t rest there long.
She’s busy scavenging building materials like cottonwood seeds,
or spider webs, that you can just barely see if you look below her beak.
Then she has to tuck everything into the nest she’s building.
By the end of the day, she had made the nest cozy and comfortable with the soft white cottonseeds.
I don’t know if she spent the night there or not.
According to rubythroat.org, after the hummingbirds mate, the male and female have little or nothing to do with each other. She will be a single parent. A day or two after her nest is complete, she will lay two pea-sized eggs. Occasionally there may be only one, but she knows better than to try to manage feeding three on on her own—so usually only two.
Incubation lasts about two weeks. I should be able to tell because during this time period she will be on the nest 50 to 55 minutes every hour.
When the chicks hatch they are about 2 cm in length and not able to keep their bodies warm. The mother still stays with them, but leaves the nest for quick trips to find food which may be nectar, pollen, and tiny insects.
The chicks will stay in the nest about three weeks.
I’m really hoping to shoot a photo of the mother feeding the babies.
After dinner, Mark and I sat on our screened in porch, also at tree-house level. We saw a young doe, and then later a young buck, wander along the creek just inside the woods at the bottom of our yard. We listened to bird calls, occasionally hearing one we didn’t recognize. And watched an occasional flash of red in the trees as a cardinal found its perch for the night.
I feel fortunate to witness some of the wildlife here that shares this woods and this planet with us, and I wonder at all that I miss while I’m not watching.