Blown in the Wind
March 10, 2007a.m.
In early February 2007 I spotted a hummingbird nest in my small olive tree in my courtyard. Several days later I noticed two tiny eggs. I watched the parent (I'm assuming the mother) patiently sitting on her eggs awaiting the birth of her babies. I'm unsure how long it took but soon I noticed a tiny puff of down feathers. I would check on their progress from time to time through our telephoto camera from the second story balcony. I was amazed to watch these baby's grow a bit more and more with each passing day. Finally, their long beaks started to become more and more noticeable with each day. Today, their beaks are about 1/4 in long and still growing.
Last night we had one heck of a wind storm. Actually, it's still very windy. This morning when I awoke, it was still dark outside; I grabbed a flash light and headed outside to see the damage. My fingers were crossed that the nest was still intact. It was not! I felt my heart go right for my throat. I then spotted the nest on the ground, empty! OH NO! I looked back to where the nest was attached just the day before and spotted one baby hanging on for dear life. Now what Where's the other one I searched and search the tree and the ground and even under the car parked nearby. Nothing. I went inside and woke up Scott and asked him to help me search for the missing baby.
As Scott was gathering his clothes, I headed back outside to search. Just as soon as Scott came to help, I spotted the second baby, sitting on a branch about 15 inches from where the nest originally stood. YEAH! I really wanted to put the baby's back together but just backed off and headed back into the house to wait and watch.
The sun started to slowly rise and mommy bird came zooming over to see the damage first hand. She found baby number 1 and gave him/her a little beak kiss of some sort of hummingbird talk, and then went looking for baby 2. I could tell she was unable to find him at first, however, she did find the empty nest. She went back to feed #1, drank from the nearby feeder and zoomed off again searching for more breakfast. She came back 2 more times but only fed baby # 1.
I started thinking that I could move baby #2 close to baby #1 and just as I was mastering the plan, mommy came back and found the baby #2. I sighed a big sigh and relaxed.
March 10, 2007 pm
Can these babies make it another night with these 30mph North wind The olive tree is swaying side to side violently, but the chicks hold on as I watch on in total amazement.
A brainstorm comes over me. I headed outside; pick up the itty bitty bird s nest, and exam it. It s constructed of the finest mixture of spider webs, hummingbird saliva and down feathers. It looks really comfortable but hardly enough room for 2 growing baby birds. I took the little nest up to my craft room/office and carefully threaded embroidery thread in a cross pattern at the base of the nest. I then went back outside and attached the nest back to the tree, as baby number 2 watched me carefully.
I head back indoors as I watched & waited to see if chick number 2 would sidestep over to the nest. Mommy bird returned, fed both chicks and checked out the next. I thought for a moment that she was going to grab chick number 2 by the back of the neck, like a mommy dog does to her puppies, but she just fed the chick again and took off.
March 11, 2007
Another windy night and another night of worry for me. First thing this morning I checked on the 2 chicks and they were still in the exact same location. Seeing them brought a huge smile on my face and a happy day ahead. Each pass of the courtyard, I take a peek, and sigh. They are such amazing creatures.
I have an update that makes me sad: I did some research yesterday about what to do when baby hummingbirds fall from their nest. It seemed the right thing to do was put them back into the nest. I don t know why I went with these recommendations, but I did. I carefully picked up one bird and planted him in his nest. Then I slowly grabbed the other baby nd put him next to the nest (there isn't enough room for both anymore). They both freaked out and took off. They didn't get far since this was their maiden voyage. I swooped them back up and repeated myself 3 times but on the last return to the nest, 1 of the birds really took off.
I looked for him/her for a few hours but couldn't find him. I could hear the mother calling out and the baby responding, so my hope is he/she found a new place to rest.
I cried and cried, drank a glass of red wine, and went to sleep.
I keep telling myself that maybe it was time for them to venture out on their own. I just wish I wasn't the one to push them to fly before they were ready. Another life lesson.
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