Garden Journal — Hummingbirds!

Last week I was watering a plant on my windowsill when a flash of movement caught my eye. A hummingbird!

She hovered on the other side of the glass and I couldn’t figure out why she was looking at me through this window. The hummers in my garden are always checking out what I’m doing, but this window is facing the innermost corner of a little walled garden — not the birds’ usual haunt. In a moment the mystery was solved as I watched her flit past the Heavenly Bamboo’s leafy cover and settle into her tiny, tiny nest.

Hardly able to contain my excitement (I at least had the presence of mind to move away), I literally jumped up and did a happy dance. What an honor to be able to see this little miracle unfold!

This is precisely why I have been gardening organically and why I’ve done my best to make my property a creature-friendly habitat. It’s so obviously paid off. I have many more birds, lizards and beneficial insects in my garden, especially this year.

My beds need to be cleaned and my shrubs could use a trim, but I had a feeling that with all this activity there must be a nest or two hidden from view. So I decided to hold off on that work and I’ve made a real effort to keep Miss Emmie on a short leash for the nesting season. Good thing, because the hummingbird’s nest is so tiny — the size of a golf ball — that I never would have seen it before the loppers dropped the branch, nest and all, to the ground.

The nest is hidden in the leafy branches on the far lower right part of the shrub.

Mama Bird has been a real trooper. She’s endured several storms the past few days, one of which had 50 – 60 mph winds. She just hunkers down in her nest while the shrub sways in the wind. She chose a good place to build her nest though. The little garden is walled in on three side and the fourth side has only a four-foot opening.

Her nest is a marvelous structure. It’s cantilevered out from a fork in the branches and she’s constructed it from the materials at hand; I recognize birch bark, dried leaf pieces, skinny twigs, and lots and lots of cobwebs to hold it all together.

Mama Bird has only one egg in her nest, though hummingbirds often lay two. She has a regular schedule leaving her nest for about 20 minutes at a time, but most of the day she sits quietly on her egg. I’ve been watching her for a week, so it should be just  another week or so till baby emerges from its egg.

Here she sits for the most part unperturbed by my nosey camera. I haven’t wanted to scare her so I’ve taken these pics with available light, through a dirty pane of glass, which is why the last two are grainy and not very sharp. I’d love some better shots, but the important thing is to make sure that I don’t disturb her, not the quality of the pictures.

I can’t wait to see our little baby hummingbird! Of course, I’ll be taking as many pictures as Mama will allow and sharing them here with you.

Happy Spring!!!

11 thoughts on “Garden Journal — Hummingbirds!

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  1. Oh, I LOVE hummingbirds! They remind me of my mom. I have an old abandoned nest attached to a little branch sitting in my dining room. Like you said, such amazing little structures…

    1. Thanks Simone. I hope to save the nest when my little friends are finished with it. I may have to wait awhile though. It seems that Mama may use it for another brood and/or use the materials for a new nest next year.

    1. Mama Bird has been very parient with me. So I can take a few shots, then she starts to get a little worried, so I back off. Hope to get some shots of the little bitty soon.

  2. Barbara,

    Oh my gosh! I love your pictures. I love hummingbirds and have seen a few lately. Thanks for your wonderful blog about a special event.

    Norma Shechtman
    Philly Girl and Jacuzzi buddy of your husband

  3. Wow! That is amazing! I love hummingbirds, and feed and watch them with joy as they flit around the feeders, chirping all the while. I have always wanted to see their tiny nests…it is amazing you got those shots! Thanks for sharing.

  4. The only thing more delightful than a hummingbird’s nest is a nest with baby hummingbirds in it. (It does get pretty dirty, though…)

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