Mama Anna's 2002 Nest

As I do every year I tore up the clematis on the east fence between "Eden" and the interior driveway after it finished blooming. I make wreaths out out of the vines, and since it had not been hacked back for two years, I did a major job. Made a half a dozen wreaths, too, before I got bored!

About a week later, I was working in the forest, trimming and pruning and such when I noticed a hummer constantly hovering about the clematis on the fence. I backed off and sat on the deck, waiting. Lo and behold, she had a nest under the clematis on the yard side, about three feet off the ground! Somehow I had either avoided othering the nest or she built after my trimming was done. Whew!!!  The next month was completely occupied with hummer watching.

May 25th the first egg appeared. You would have thought I laid it, I was was so excited. On Thursday, June 14th, Itsy, baby number one left the nest. On Friday, June 15th, Bitsy, baby number two left the nest. It is an awful feeling. Mama will still visit by coming to her perch when I call, but she is more occupied with chasing blue jays out of the umbrella mulberry tree that covers the yard. I see the babies once in a while, flying near Mama.

The nest in the clematis

Two babies in the nest, about two weeks old

Itsy & Mama, din-din in her mouth


Bitsy and her incredible tongue

I think I hear something!

Mama's coming!!!!

Dinner at long last!

An after dinner hug from Bitsy

S - T - R - E - T - C - H ! ! !

Practice and practice.....

and MORE practice.....

Bitsy...on her own

I never thought that the empty nest would hurt as much as it did that weekend. I had spent the month devoted to these birds, chasing off cats, shielding the nest from torrential winds, holding my breath as the first flight took place.

I learned more than I ever thought possible, saw more than I ever thought I would be allowed. All the pictures were taken sitting on the office deck within five feet of the nest. The best picture of the area is here. Mama would not hesitate to visit the nest with me sitting there, although she thoroughly inspected the camera and the tripod after installation.

Mama picked a place that was the coolest in the yard, best protected from the most the winds that fly through the yard, from the rains (except for that one night) and near a vast quantity of food, feeders as well as flowering plants and bugs and near two waterfalls. It's grand to watch her drink from a waterfall! She did not foresee our curious cat, Pooh, who I carefully watched for a month and constantly took away from the area even though Mama would not show any fear and readily fly into Pooh's face to tell her off if Pooh got too close. I moved the blue jay and squirrel feeder that hangs in the immediate area for the duration, and made sure she had her own feeder right near the nest. A ripe banana went into a hanger in the driveway for bug food. I pot and putter on the office deck, so I am in the area all the time, toottling back and forth. My presence was easily accepted right from the start.

Itsy left Thursday morning, exactly twenty one days old, moving three to six inches at a time until Itsy made it to the top of the clematis. From there, Itsy moved up into the Bradford pear that shields the forest area under the mulberry. I was taping the baby clinging to the end of a very thin branch and was laughing so hard I had to stop. The branch would weave up and down, out of sight of the camera with the wind. That is where the first feeding pictures took place during a still moment. Finally I lost sight of Itsy, so high in the tree. Mama would perpetually return to feed Itsy first, swoop down to the nest and feed Bitsy, without finding more bugs inbetween. She would also return from a bug search, drink at the feeder (with bugs in her mouth) and then proceed to feed the kids.Off to chase off an intruding jay and back to bug hunting. What work!!!

Thursday afternoon was spent filming Bitsy's flight practice from the edge of the nest. Poor David fell asleep watching the yards and yards of film. Stretching, scratching, flapping, sitting, settling in, listening, sleeping,  call Mama, wait, yawn, repeat. Friday morning, Bitsy left. An inch or two, then a yard, then five feet plus in one shot! I was soooo proud of Bitsy! Soon, she joined her brother and Mama in the Bradford Pear and we could not see her anymore.  I took a shot of the empty nest and darn near cried.

That weekend, I saw Mama chasing away a jay and one of the babies flew up, curious, with a most definite, "What's going on, Mama?" attitude. Mama actually snapped at her youngster who flew back to the pear, and Mama continued her harrassment of the jay.

I am not sure who is who, if Itsy or Bitsy are female or male. I simply assigned them names and genders for story telling ease. Meanwhile, I continue to macrame from the mulberry and coo to Mama in her perch, hoping she will return to use her nest again, or at least, my yard, for her next brood.


Hummingbird nest 2003

Hummingbird nest 2004

Hummingbirds 2005

Hummingbirds 2006

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What I Have Learned About Hummers

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All photos by Anne Stevens 2002

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