Generally speaking, I am not a jealous woman. Nonetheless, my green eyes got all the greener this summer when I found out my neighbor Sue was hosting a hummingbird nest in her backyard. She was so excited about it, she practically did a jig whenever the topic came up. She’s the only person I’ve ever even heard of who has a hummingbird nest in her yard!
For several weeks, the mama bird (possibly a Calliope) came and went from her miniature abode, which was the size and shape of an espresso cup, delicately clinging to a slender branch of silver maple tree. Whenever I went over, she was there and gone in a flash if she showed up at all. I didn’t want to wait around all day for a chance to take her picture.
A couple of weeks ago, Sue said that two tiny babies now occupied the nest. When they were first hatched, their pointy little beaks were soft and droopy, but quickly straightened out and firmed up. I finally got over there last weekend to check them out, and found two nearly full-sized chicks pressed closely together in what looked to me like really cramped quarters. Where does the mama bird sleep at night?
Putting the camera on a tripod didn’t allow me to get close enough for the shot I wanted, and shooting handheld with a long zoom resulted in less sharp images than I hoped for, but what can you do?
The birds didn’t seem bothered by my presence, although they kept a close eye on me as I moved around below them.
They were very placid and quietly watchful as they waited for their mother to return. “She told them to stay put!” Sue says, and they did. That is, they did right up until the minute they were ready to fly away on their own.
We had a windstorm a couple of nights ago, and when I went over to see how the chicks were the next day, Sue said they were gone. The little teacup-shaped nest remains, now flattened out to more of a saucer shape by its steadily growing occupants.
Perhaps one of these tiny visitors will return to it again next year.