It’s been five years since the hummingbird mama grew two babies to adulthood in a nest right outside my back door–and then a few weeks later nurtured a second nest of babies! I was lucky enough to capture on video a baby leaving the nest in flight for its very first time.
Now it’s May once again, and we have two hummingbird nests in the yard! These are in the front yard–one in an oleander tree and the other in a wind mobile.
See her nest right there in the middle of the photo?
Look for the mama in the next photo! It’s a little harder haha.
She looks like she’s trying to blend right in. Here she and the nest are from a different angle.
Right underneath the mobile are a few flats of flowers that we have not yet planted. She keeps going to them for nectar as if we set them there for her babies.
Maybe these mamas are the babies of the ones I saw fly off into their lives!
Cat news: Perry is so stinken smart. It’s become clear that he absolutely knows what “Hold on” means and is willing to do it every time I say it. If we are walking somewhere in the house (he follows me), and I have to turn back for something, I say, “Hold on.” He then sits right where he is and waits for me to come back and then picks up following me again! If I were so inclined I think our boy might be trainable for Youtube.
One last note: I hope these mama hummingbirds and my cute boy Perry give you a little glimpse of hope after a tragic and sad week. Here is Emily Dickinson on the subject of hope:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all –
OK, here is my catchall post. Last year at this time my father had just passed away and I had my second set of hummingbird babies to look after. Mac, my oldest cat, was dying.
Since the hummingbird had laid her eggs outside my window two years in a row, we were hopeful she would return this year. I suspect she too has now passed away. Her nest is empty and disintegrating.
Why is this woman putting a watermark on this ugly photo, you might ask. I would ask that, even if I didn’t articulate it. Answer: just cause. It’s part of my turning over a new leaf goal.
If you think this is the only abandoned nest around me, think again. There are at least two more.
If you haven’t seen this video about a hummingbird, it will start your weekend off right!
What else is happening (or not happening) in my life?
Flowers are happening, thank goodness.
The above flowers are a sample from a decorative pot. We have these in beds, too. After realizing that a lot of colors (pink, purple, pastel, YELLOW) don’t look well with our gold-toned stucco, we found that by putting a variety of strong colors together–reds, oranges, burgundies, rusts, blues, whites–that they look great!
Lots of cactus flowers this year, too!
The reason I leave a lot of the gardening to my live-in gardener is because Arizona gardening can be dangerous. This is just one reason why.
These agave thorns have messed up my gardener more than once. Very very painful.
Although I pick up my mail outside amidst the flowers and empty nests, I bring it inside to open it (usually). Yesterday I got a “catalog” from the symphony with next year’s options. Look at this.
Shostakovich and Cello right next to each other! I don’t think so. Not after my last experience with both. I wrote about it in Hypersensitive to a Sound?
But the good news is they are performing Vaughn Williams. Woot!
Another item that came in the mail was a lion costume for my cats. It looked so cute online, but when I got it I saw that it wasn’t for cats at all, but for kittens. To try it on Felix, I had to add a long piece of velcro under his chin. And it doesn’t look near as cute as in the advertisement because it needs a tiny kitten face so that the “mane” overwhelms it. But Felix is very good humored and let me fool around with it anyway.
So what else is new around here, you might ask? Well, you might not, but I will ask it for you. Just . . . so . . . I . . . can . . . show you the new resident at my house!
Yes, we are fostering Slupe!!! I couldn’t let her stay at the shelter any longer. TWO YEARS. She has her own room for now, with a view of bunnies, birds, and lizards. I will write more after she’s been here a little longer.
Everyone, have a lovely weekend. For my American peeps, Happy Memorial Day. Keeping those I’ve lost in my heart.
Last week was very hot in Phoenix. A couple of days were 115 degrees and all days were well over 100. Earlier this spring the weather was beautiful, which motivated some birds into filling their nests with eggs a second time. But now that we have a very hot June, the heat has taken its toll on the inhabitants of our outdoor nursery.
It’s way too hot for baby birds.
Thursday afternoon we found a baby bird (starling? sparrow?) that had fallen from a very high nest. He wasn’t quite a full fledgling yet, and he fell onto our upper deck, which was not a good place for Mama to take care of him. We ended up having to take him to the wildlife rehabilitation facility. Friday morning, his sister found herself in the same situation. She was taken to stay with her brother.
Saturday morning, hubby found a baby that was still a nestling, on the ground. Many baby birds do fall out of the nest before they fly, but he was clearly not ready and looked as if he were dying. I rushed him over to the caring rehabilitation and they administered fluids right away.
Humans have to be careful taking baby birds away from their mothers who may be nearby and feeding them. But in these cases, the heat was going to kill the birds first. Baby birds need some heat to thrive, but too much heat is deadly.
So you might be wondering how the hummingbird babies are doing.
On Saturday, almost exactly a month since the first 2015 batch of hummingbirds left the nest, the second batch followed their siblings out into the big world–or, at least, our neighborhood.
In preparation, Mama fed both babies, as she had been doing since they hatched from their eggs.
Although my videos aren’t very good, they will lead you to quality hummingbird videos posted by other people.
The larger, stronger, bolder brother (they could be sisters or a brother and a sister, but I think they are brothers)began flapping his wings, testing them out, and he gave encouragement to his brother. Then, on Saturday, he flew out of the nest, while Mama and brother watched.
He landed on a rock of our fountain, where he stayed for a few minutes until he got his courage. During that time, Mama flew back and forth between the nest and the rock.
After he flew off to explore, Mama spent several hours coaxing the skinnier, more timid baby from the nest. She fed him a few more times and even groomed him just a bit, as if to say, “I want you to look presentable out there in the world. Appearances matter. Show our predators that you are confident and know how to take care of yourself.” In this photo, she has turned her back on him momentarily, maybe to rest?
I was so impressed that Mama spent so much time with her offspring. She showed him what to do by flying out of the nest and returning to him repeatedly.
Eventually it worked and he flew off when Mama was out of the nest.
When I saw the empty nest I was a little sad, but wait: he came back several times, resting on the edge of the nest.
Saturday night and Sunday he didn’t come back. He’s off discovering his world, too.
All four hummingbirds that were raised in this nest have, no doubt, found the world to be a bit different from that of his siblings. I hope they all find it a pleasant place where they are rewarded for their hard work and don’t find any predators that can’t be avoided.
That’s it now for hummingbirds. It’s too hot to be creative here, but I am going to jumpstart the creativity by taking an online course in “flash essays.” I am hoping to learn how to write in a more cutting edge style. And I think I’m going to need the structure as I can see the summer melting away.