Lens-Artists Challenge #61: Precious Pets – Hummingbirds
This week’s Lens-Artists Challenge Tina introduced the theme “Precious Pets.” She mentioned spending time with her brother and his wife in Colorado, watched how they tended the hummingbirds. Tina now has anew found appreciation of the little creatures and captured some wonderful photos.
I started feeding the hummingbirds in the summer of 2014. Did the hummingbirds stay all year round? I had no idea. If they flew south during the winter, did the same hummingbirds come back to my garden? I didn’t keep track of them until June 2018.
The orange tree in the backyard grew big and tall. My husband trimmed it. After trimming the tree, on June 14, 2018, I discovered a hummingbird nest. He just missed it by one branch. Whew!
Baby Hummie poked his head out of the nest waited for the feeding. I grabbed the ladder, climbed up to take a photo. I moved some leaves out of the way to get a clear view, but scared the baby. He flapped and popped out of the nest. It scared me because he was not ready to fly. I quickly got down the ladder, picked him up in my cuffed hand and returned him to the nest. Papa fluttered above my head. I retrieved from the ladder quickly.
Apparently Baby Hummie was hatched days before I discovered him. I only watched him in the nest for four days and caught him flying away. He flew behind the cypress trees. Eventually Mama brought him and showed him the bird feeder. He stayed close to the bird feeder for six months.
Winter came. My research shows a baby hummingbird cannot fly south to Mexico from California in his first year. The mature birds fly 900 miles straight only stop to feed. Mama and Papa stayed until it was very cold. Finally, early January this year, only Baby Hummie stayed. I worried about him every day especially when it was cold and wet. Baby was smart, he perched on the low wire surrounding his favorite Salvia bush next to a three-feet high brick fence. It sheltered him from the pouring rain and open wind.
Papa came back after three weeks. Mama came back a few days later. They were excited about the reunion, dancing and chasing each other. Papa led Baby Hummie fly away from the feeder little further at a time.
On April 7, 2019, I didn’t see Baby Hummie the whole day. I was heartbroken, thinking of all the scenarios. Did the squirrel eat him while he hibernates at night? Was he attacked by other animals? Was he grown enough to be gone? I prayed for Baby Hummie. It was okay if he was gone, as long as he was safe. The next day, I saw him just once with Papa early in the morning. Perhaps Papa wanted him to fly a further distance. He then came back a couple times a day. And it became more and more frequent returns.
I’m happy to let you know that the last three months, Hummie stays in my front yard and the backyard all day. Papa and Mama come to visit, do their acrobat dance several times a day. As for Hummie, he perches on many favorite spots.
Besides the bird feeder, his favorite nectar is from Slavia and other purple trumpet flowers. I make sure the feeder is full and his favorite flowers grow well.