Mama Anna's 2004 Nest

Mama comes to sit on her branch when I call her, but after her 2003 June batch had gone off, she did not answer. December came and went, no Mama. I was certain something had happened to her and the idea broke my heart. Since our population is growing each year, I assume that it is her daughters and sons that feed all year around at several feeders through out the yard.  A feeder in the greenhouse where I sit and package seeds provides me with close up sights all day long.

Late February, I was out in the front yard feeding the neighborhood bunnies who come and go through the yard, feasting on Mexican primrose that runs rampant. I heard a hummer protesting quite loudly from Mama's territory and looked up to see our kittlets had climbed to the top of the trellis. From the back yard I called them down and saw Mama hovering in front of the clematis where she always built her nests. Then, swoosh, under the leaves she went. Lo and behold, not only is she back (where HAVE you been???) she used her 2003 nest and has THREE eggs in it. Up went her private feeder and her 'salad. the rotten fruit basket. Sooo glad to have her back, and maybe there will be two nests this year!! (There were THREE nests that spring and summer!)

Nest one: Mama used her 2003 nest, laid three eggs but only one hatched.

March 2  - one egg hatched

4 days old (two other eggs on right)

7 days old

10 days old (two other eggs on LEFT now)

12 days old

13 days old

Alas, we were out of town after this and did not get to see this baby fly the coop

Nest Two:

Mama built her second nest of the year in the same area, in the clematis, but at the north end, within stretching distance of the dance deck. My daughter's birthday party caused concern but we managed to bar the area from the kids who were understanding and stayed away. Two more eggs and two births.

During this nest, I was working out in the garden way in the back. Mama came to hover above the onion patch, screeching loudly. I stopped my work and asked what was wrong, she just kept hovering. I put down my tool, stood and spoke to her again, I am obviously ready to respond to what she needs. She turns and heads to the gate leading to the Eden area and her nest, but actually waits for me at the gate. Once I am near the gate she kept going back to her nest. No cats, no squirrels so far. OMG, smoke billowing out of the winter greenhouse on the same side of the house as her nest. Wow.

Nest Three:

Before the two babies in nest two flew, Mama would spend an unusual time away from the nest. We are so used to all this that I am not watching as closely as I used to. I finally realize she is building ANOTHER nest, this time in the center of the clematis. So now we have two on the south end, one on the north end and another in between. This nest had two eggs but only one baby hatched, lived and flew. While Mama sat on this nest, the two babies from nest two stayed in the area, normally kept clean of every living creature by Mama. She actually permitted both children (a girl and a boy) to use her private feeder. The son, nicknamed Scruffy because he really had some ruffled, funny feathers and sorry excuse for a tail, would hover in front of her sitting on her nest.  Every so often she would leave the nest and they would fly off together in a friendly, playing fashion. When they returned, she would sit on the nest, he would perch on her branch and wait. All day.

The Rufous

David calls me out to the back where he saw a hummer dining on the onion flowers. He said it was brown, I said that had to be a hummingbird moth, but their season was already over a few months ago.
Wow....a Rufous.  Books, bincoculars, cameras come out. Wow. Never saw a Rufous before.
These guys (there are three of them) are territorial and serious brats!


Mama has disappeared again as she does every year this time. David says she and her boyfriend have taken their annual vacation in Mexico away from the kids. I am not looking forward to the year she does not return. Scruffy isn't scruffy any more. He is quite beautiful and lives in Mama's territory. sitting on her branches, using her feeders and sometimes will come when I call for Mama. A new female with a distinct tail and slight chin colour shows up once in a while, and will hover around my head to inspect me. The daughter?

The Rufous (female?) has decided that the greenhouse feeder is hers, period. This causes the six Anna's to work a bit harder to get their dinner. Fights and flight manuevers the Air Force would envy take place over the entire yard. The cats just sit, watch, drool and dream.

Working in the greenhouse has become quite risky. I had six hummers vieing for the feeder come racing through the entire greenhouse within inches of my face. Neat but  rather un-nerving at that speed. Something was bugging my hair as I was intently working on seeds, so, thinking I had another wood bee hovering, I absent mindedly waved my hand around in the air near my head. Imagine my horror to touch a hummer who immediately sped off after being 'slapped'. I am soo sorry!!! I spent hours apologizing.

After David comes home from work we go out to sit at the greenhouse and watch the aerial fights, the antics, the dives, and just laugh, amazed and honoured to have a ring side seat. David stood next to the feeder and was continually bombarded, but for the first time, he got to see a hummer within twelve inches away. He kept saying, "Those tiny feet!" Now, because he simply can't hear them (the wavelength is one he can't hear), so I need to figure out how he can hear their delightful songs.

Hummingbird nest 2002

Hummingbird nest 2003

Hummingbirds 2005

Hummingbirds 2006

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