Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hummingbirds & one other

I find hummingbirds fascinating, don't you?
A couple of years ago, we had a hummingbird build a nest in a podacarpus tree that is to the right as I look out my kitchen window, far enough that I have to get to the left edge and peer hard to the right. This branch actually extends underneath the patio cover, so it's protected from rain.

I know, this photo isn't very good, hey, it's hard to get a camera underneath those leaves without actually disturbing the nest, and the flash was a little hot too. This shot is from above the nest looking at the two hummingbird babies that were there. Those orangy-looking things at "10:00", they're the beaks...yes, they're orange when they're that small. The width of the nest isn't very big, maybe 1.5" across. Sadly, neither of these babies survived to adulthood thanks to the marauding jay birds...I really dislike jay birds. And crows. Both are nest robbers and it doesn't matter if it's eggs or hatchlings.

This little cutie, not my hand - the hummingbird, is from the mama's second set the following year. The reason it's in my hand is that I'd gone outside, and as I took a step on the unswept-covered-with-leaves walkway near the tree the nest is in, I saw something buzz of sorts on the ground...there was the baby (an only child)! So I had Marty grab his camera and take a picture before we set it back to the nest. We came out an hour or so later and it was gone again and no evidence of it on the ground so we guess it fledged rightly the second time. I believe this was about April of this year, then mama had another set (twins), same nest a couple months later, and we'd watch and one day they were barely on the edge of the nest, again had Marty go get his camera, but I made a move and both just went WHIRRRRR and off to the roof of the patio then went and Marty didn't get his pictures. The nest is still there, so we hope she'll use the nest again.

The hummers are still around, whether the same ones or others. I'd stopped putting the feeder up over a year ago, even before the nest, because we were getting ant freeways going after the nectar. When I was shopping for my stash closet supplies, I discovered a pesticide-disc containing ant-guard that you hang from the hook and the feeder then attaches to it. The ants have to go into the guard and across the pesticide in order to get to the feeder :) no ant problem at the feeder now :), and I've had to refill it after just over a week, and when I did, I got BUZZED by one of the hummers, hey guys, don't you know I'm trying to keep you fed? And it was right there to feed as soon as I stepped away. I stood no more than 6' away while it landed and drank. There are at least three distinctly different hummers. One is quite large as far as hummers go, probably 4" easily, and he had the brightest red chest I've ever seen. My bird book indicates he might be a Broadtailed Hummingbird. The book says the Ruby Throat isn't on this side of the state, unless he's way off course! They're so fun to watch, especially when they try to guard their territory!

Our Modesto Ash tree draws quite a few birds throughout the year. Never nesting, but resting, hunting, pecking, whatever birds do in trees. So this next picture, taken by Marty, shows one of the raptors that often will land on a branch and eat his/her breakfast or lunch or dinner. This is, I believe, a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. They're smaller than some, but gorgeous. I love raptors. They're just so majestic and ooze 'power'. and yes, 'it' was feeding for this picture but I'm not sure that shows real well...probably a good thing.

1 comment:

  1. Hummingbirds and hawks -- I enjoy watching both of them, too. We feed hummingbirds all summer long; they're so entertaining! We inadvertently feed the hawks, too. By feeding the other birds, there's always an easy target for the circling hawks! Circle of life and all that. Loved your pics today!! :)


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