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Category: Wildlife

  • Hummingbird Fledglings

    June 19, 2015

    Anna built her nest and then laid and incubated two eggs that hatched to become hummingbird fledglings. It was amazing to watch how quickly the tiny birds developed over the course of just a few days.

    Two week old baby hummingbirds

    At about 15 days after hatching, the baby birds snoozed with their eyes closed.
    Their fluffy down began transforming into pin feathers.

    Anna's hummingbird babies with feathers

    Two days after the pin feathers began appearing, the babies showed more feathers than fluff. And, their eyes were open to observe the world around them.
    Notice how their beaks elongate rapidly too!

    (You can support this blog by buying through our links. Purchases made through the affiliate links on this page and others on this site pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors. Thank you for buying and helping support us!)

    Pair of baby hummingbirds just before fledging

    On May 18th I captured my last shot of the fledglings together in their nest – check out that tongue! Right after I snapped this, there was a squawk, a flap & one hummingbird had flown from the nest. The question that haunted me: “Did the 1st to fly survive fledging so young?”

    (more…)

  • Hummingbird Babies!

    June 12, 2015

    Anna built and then sat on her nest, and we all waited for days for the hummingbird babies to arrive.

    I spoke to her daily, cheering her on as she sat still for hours on end. She cocked her head at the sound of my voice. Skeptical? Perhaps. Afraid? Maybe. Annoyed? Quite likely. I was anxious that the babies might not hatch before I left town for a family wedding. What if I missed them?

    And then, just as the sun began to set on the evening before I had a pre-dawn flight, this:

    Anna hummingbird feeding newborn

    Anna feeding her first hummingbird baby on April 29th.

    Anna’s behavior that afternoon had changed, hinting that the hummingbird babies might just be coming out of their shell.

    Anna hummingbird perching on nest

    Anna stopped sitting on the cup of the nest & began perching on the edge –
    a hint the eggs might be breaking.

    As the light began to wane, Anna flew off to gather more food for her hatchling, and I saw a broken egg:

    hummingbird nest with hatched egg

    A broken hummingbird egg in the nest, but are there more babies?!

    The next morning, bright and early, I left town for the next 11 days. I had read on various birding sites like AllAboutBirds.org that the babies would be in the nest for longer than I would be away. Still, I couldn’t help wondering what I’d miss out on while I was away, but upon my return, this is what I found:

    baby hummingbirds in nest at about 12 days old

    A pair of baby hummingbirds snuggled in the nest about 12 days after hatching. Anna couldn’t have timed spring better for her babies. Their rhodie home was in peak bloom during the weeks between hatching & fledging. The big flowers helped hide & camouflage them. What a gorgeous view from their cozy little nest from the moment their eyes opened!

    In the days that followed, I continued to watch them grow, capturing photos as I was able through the thick, red blooms.

    Come back next week to see more photos of the hummingbird babies as they grow, as their scenery changes and see what happens when they’re ready to fly.

    If you missed part one of this story, don’t miss the images of Anna building her nest!

  • A Garden for a Hummingbird Nest

    June 05, 2015

    In April 2015 I came upon an Anna’s hummingbird building her nest in our garden. I nearly ran right into Anna working as I was pulling weeds underneath the rhodie where she was building her birdie cradle. After she fussed at me, I backed away and left her to do her work. Fortunately, she wasn’t frightened and chose to raise her brood just outside our front door. I’m out in the garden so much, she had to expect I’d be out there puttering as much as she was. In this post and perhaps the next, I’ll share a few snapshots of her work and her babies.

    hummingbird nest under construction

    On April 5, 2015 Anna had begun building her tiny nest made of readily available spider webs, moss, lichen & other goodies from our garden.

    hummingbird nest in rhododendron

    On her second day of building, Anna’s nest begins to take on a distinctive cup shape.

    (You can support this blog by buying through our links. Purchases made through the affiliate links on this page and others on this site pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors. Thank you for buying and helping support us!)

    Anna's hummingbird building a nest

    On day two, at the beginning of April, Anna adds a bit of spider’s web to her nest.

    If you haven’t noticed yet, Anna’s green back looks almost exactly like the rhodie leaves surrounding her — in shape and in color. She picked a perfect camouflage location. Too, she positioned her nest in a crotch of the shrub over which leaves overlapped in such a way that rain never seemed to drip on her. It almost rolled from leaf to leaf to ground like and old-time cartoon sequence. (more…)

  • Earth Day 2015

    April 22, 2015

    Since Earth Day 2015 also lands on a Wednesday, I figured why not put together a post celebrating the visual beauty of the natural world, while keeping the post mostly wordless for “Wordless Wednesday.” I decided on mostly wordless because captions give context. Every day should be a celebration of the Earth, but I’ll go along with the annual promotion by taking time to remember some of the near and far moments I’ve enjoyed courtesy of Mother Nature’s child Earth.

    Anna's hummingbird is nesting this earth day

    Anna’s hummingbird building a nest in spring.

    Kootenai Forest in Montana

    A gorgeous late summer day looking at the Kootenai Forest in Montana.

    Snoqualmie Falls frozen

    Powerful Snoqualmie Falls flowing and freezing – what a day!

    Pacific Crest Trail in Autumn

    One of my most spectacular moments in nature on the Pacific Crest Trail in early Autumn.

    (more…)

  • Poison-free Bee Removals

    February 27, 2015

    Did you know that you can hire bee removal beekeepers that won’t use poisons?

    There’s no need to reach for a can of toxic nastiness and attempt to spray away nuisance stinging insects (and probably get stung in the process). And, you don’t have to hire a pesticide applicator to do the nasty job for you either. Besides, they’ll leave behind toxic residues (and possibly a still-active nest as well). In fact, there are a number of experienced beekeepers for hire who will do bee removals of all kinds without pesticides.

    Honey Bee Removal Assessment

    Corky of BuzzBeeGone.com & Ballard Bee Company assessing an aerial honeybee swarm before he begins gently removing them to relocate into a productive apiary.

    Now, let’s be clear: Just because you have a bee or hornet nest in your garden, doesn’t mean you need to have them removed. Let’s consider a few kinds of bees that might move in and options for dealing with them (more…)

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