Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Checking on Eve's Hummer Nestlings

Last week I went back to the Penasquitos/Lopez Canyon trail to check on Eve's hummingbird nest. It was 14 days after hatching and things looked pretty normal as far as I could tell.

Day 14.  As I approach the nest, I find Mom hummer active and flying circles around the nest keeping a close eye on her two nestlings.
She looks above to make sure the nestlings are safe.

What appears to be a young fledgling Song Sparrow comes too close and she immediately chases it away.

Mom perches on a nearby branch for preening.

Back to brooding.

She appears quite fidgety, moving all around the nest edge before finally settling in to brood.

Moves again. Now we get a look at one of the nestlings.
Mom flies off and we see that there are two nestlings. We can see that mom is back approaching the nest from behind.
She's back and starts a feeding.

Look how she has positioned herself and has wrapped her wing around the branch coming out of the nest to support herself as she feeds.


Another close-up shot of the feeding.
The youngster is getting a nice long feeding.

Suddenly, mom  flies up and around the nest as though she is hawking insects around the nest. There are lots of gnats and mosquitoes around this morning. I wonder how vulnerable these nestlings are to biting insects such as mosquitoes.

The nestlings are covered in pinfeathers and I notice there appears to be a blood spot right near the nostril of the one on the right. I do worry about West Nile virus. Even though it is very hot today, I wonder if the mom keeps brooding to keep the biting insects off the nestlings.

Here comes mom to brood the nestlings again. Keeping them safe from biting insects? The temp is about 86F but feels like 90F due to humidity.
She lands at the rim of the nest bowl and the nestlings tuck under her feathers.

This is the time of the day when the sun is just right and shines directly on the nest. Mom could be protection against too much sunlight on the nestlings. Some birders call this style of shading the nestlings from the hot sun a "mombrella".

Close-up of mom brooding. Notice the black round spots on the rim of the nest and on the nearby leaf. They are poop from the nestlings.

One of the nestlings appeared to pop out and maybe cough up something. Do hummingbird nestlings expel pellets?

Mom takes off again and the nestlings change positions. Not wanting to upset mom by being there too long, I say good-bye to the cuties and leave them to her care. I will be back to check on them again. I have read that hummingbirds fledge in approximately 20 to 21 days after hatching. Hope to be here to see the wonderful event. Hope they stay safe.
August  9th 2017. Today would be approximately Day 20 from hatching.
I just got through editing some photos I took today at the nest site. The nest was empty and I realized that I was too late! The nestlings had already fledged. 
I looked around hoping to see the fledglings nearby. I saw movement near the nest and was delighted to see two Hummingbirds perched on a nearby branch. Here is a shot of the first one. 

Its beak looks like it may have pollen and some spider webbing.
Few more shots of the hummer with pollen on its beak.

Another one is perched on the same willow tree only a few feet away. This one has no pollen on its beak.

He looks up and flutters after some insects. Soon both are gone and I did not see them return after this sighting.  I'm not 100 percent sure if these two were Eve's Hummers that  fledged but it sure seemed like it since they were only about 10 ft away from the nest. Wishing them a safe and happy life and a nice ending to Eve's hummer's nest adventure.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

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