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July 11, 2012

My Hummingbird Neighbors III - An Awarded Single Mother


Nature is really full of mysteries. After finding the first abandoned nest, I thought that the mother hummingbird was inexperienced. But who knew this tiny bird could be so smart, to raise babies as a single mother, she started building a second nest nearby. I had no idea how or if this mother hummingbird moved her two coffee bean size eggs to that second home, after she experienced that the first location did not work out for them.


I missed the beginning of the eggs being hatched. But now, I could see baby hummingbirds only slept and ate, and grow fast each day. One baby was bigger than the other one, I think it is a male from the eye expression. The other one looked like a girl. The mother hummingbird always fed him first. They had their own priority I believe. The half walnut size nest was getting so crowded, sometimes the two babies laid on top each other.

Taking care of two babies as a single mother was not an easy job, I could see the mother hummingbird was getting slimmer by the time the two babies started to stretch their wings.


Of course I enjoyed watching my hummingbird neighbors. The mother brought her two big fat babies food every twenty (20) minutes (from the research). After watching them for a couple of days, I learned that the mother was coming whenever I saw the babies start opening their beaks. So, I'd better hide myself, not to bother them at feeding time.


The mother hummingbird was very cautious to fly nearby the nest each time. I could hear the calling sound in the distance outside. Then she flew close or around the tree once, sometimes twice. She never landed on her nest directly without checking the surrounding area carefully.

Taking photos of these hummingbirds was difficult. The nest was built in between frail finger sized branches. The wind never stopped blowing, though the baby hummingbirds were sitting still in the nest.

On the May 28, the boy looked impatient. I took the last photo of the two siblings together, he flew away, and never came back to the nest. I felt sorry for the lonely girl all by herself, but mother still came back on time to feed her.


Learning from Don Carroll and Noriko Carroll's movie "First Flight: A Mother Hummingbird's Story, the baby hummingbird had a hard time to land when it began to fly. So, I wondered if the runaway knew how to find food on his own. I heard and saw the mother hummingbird was landing on one of our neighbor's two maple trees after calling for a while in the later after noon that same day. So, the boy hummingbird was found and fed. I was so happy to see the mother and runaway baby together again.




Two days later, the second baby she left the nest as well. And I spotted both baby hummingbirds on each of the two maple tree of our neighbor's. Each time, the mother still called each one, then landed where they were located to feed them.

I saw the mother hummingbird kept feeding both her babies on neighbor's trees for about 10 days. Each time, the mother had to find where they were located. They seemed like teenagers, flew around our neighbor's trees, never stayed the same spot anymore, and they never stayed on the same tree either. I could imagine that the mother's job getting harder.


One late afternoon, I saw the mother landed on a tiny naked branch (half of pencil size) of my neighbor's tree, which was very close by our fence. I knew our neighbor was not home. My camera was handy. I didn't want to miss this rare opportunity, I stood on top of my empty clay pot, but I was still not tall enough. So I laid my camera on top of the fens, turned off the sound of shutter speed, and zoomed all the way to focus on her. It was so unusual to see her standing still less than 5 minutes. Unfortunately, I could not get perfect shots. It was a very windy day and she was in a quite dark shade area. During review of my photos, I saw her eye lids were shut, she was having a power nap. After she woke up, then flew away to prepare dinner... so amazing!






It was almost at the middle of June, it was the last time I saw her feeding, so different and exciting! First, the mother called her baby, then she landed on a tiny branch nearby the baby was located. The baby flew to the mother aggressively, but the mother suddenly turned and flew about twenty feet high in the air, the baby was chasing her as fast as the mother's speed in the air...

Watching the baby hummingbirds grow up were truly a joyful and fun experience. The mother hummingbird really deserved a big single mother reward, she did such an amazing job all by herself for raising and training those two baby hummingbirds!

Goodbye, my hummingbird neighbors, hope you all live happy and healthy! Welcome back next year!


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