Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hummingbird Rescue Adventure

This past spring and summer, we had the joy of watching a humming bird build a nest in the tree just outside our dining room window. The nest is only as big as my thumb tip. It is so small that you have to point it out to people as it kinda looks like a knot on the tree itself. 

We watched momma bird tend to the nest regularly and the tree is right next to our garage door and that branch nearly reaches over the driveway so every time we would head out, she would start to "dive bomb" us to protect her nest and eggs.
When the egg hatched, she was vigilant in getting food and feeding the sweet little thing and when we would come into the dining room she would flit about looking in the window to let us know she was "on guard" if we should try anything. 
This picture is my pointer finger next to the nest. You can see it could just fit my thumb in the nest maybe. There is no way she could have had two babies. I don't know how any of the babies survive in such a little nest as they have no room to move. 
We went camping in the beginning of August and Princess Two came a day after we did and as she was leaving, she noticed the baby hanging from the nest by a leg. She called me frantic and I told her to put on a glove and try to put it back into the nest without hurting it. She did and left for camping happy that she had saved the baby.
We get home from camping and a few days later, the baby is gone from the nest. I thought one day when I was cleaning out the freezer in the garage that I heard it's little chirps but looking around I couldn't see it in the plants below the nest. 
I would see the mom fly around the shrubs and plants below the nest several times a day. I never saw her set down or interacting with the baby so I figured it had died or gotten eaten by a cat.    
Princess Five was mowing the lawn the other day and I just happened to be visiting with a Veterinarian about my parasite problem asking him questions about cat parasites when she called telling me that the mower had scared the baby bird out of the shrubs and she didn't know what to do. 
He said if the mother is still around, to put the baby back into the nest if we could reach it. I immediately went home and we put on gloves and then stuck the baby back into the nest. 
I was worried the mom may attack me but figured it was worth a try. I put it in the nest and held my had over the nest for a few seconds to calm it down so it didn't flop out onto the ground below again. 

It was in shock for about 20 minutes as it didn't move or adjust. I am sure after the mower scare, being man handled, and then put back into the nest, all after being on the ground for a week without it's mother, it was definitely in shock. 

I love that I was able to get some fairly clear pictures of the mother feeding the baby while flying in mid air. 

After the 20 minutes of shock rest, the baby started to settle down into the nest and adjust. The mother then did several "fly by" trips to make sure everything was "ok" and then she did a quick feeding which was almost missed if you blinked. 
The second visit was a bit longer and I was able to get a few pictures. She did three visits of feeding and each time she would fly to an upper branch of the tree and kept a watchful eye on her baby. 

I took the picture of the window from inside the house to show you just how small the nest really is. I show the glass butterfly wing is pointing to the nest and because I am so zoomed in on the nest in the video and pictures, you really can't get a good idea of just how small it is unless it is in perspective. 

The baby was the first thing I checked the next day and was thrilled it was still in the nest. About five days later, it was gone again. I didn't see the mom around at all for about a week and then one day, I saw her fluttering around the flower beds again and hoped she was just there for the lavender that was in bloom and not that her baby had fallen out again. I think that the baby was old enough to fly and choose to think that it flew away happy with its mom to better days. I haven't seen anything that leads me to believe otherwise. 

It was an adventure having that little nest in our lives for a few months. It was something new to me as I have never seen a hummingbird nest before. There is always something new to see. I love that in the beginning of the video, you can clearly see the hollow tongue of the mom many times. In another video I shot, you can see the baby's tongue. That was also a new one for me. 

I LOVE learning new things.

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