Category Archives: Hummingbird

Lens-Artists Challenge #144 – Baby Birds Taking Flight

This week, Tina would like us to think of the idea of flying. It could be any flying objects such as birds, butterflies, bees, insects, airplanes, balloons, or kites. I have many bird stories to tell, so I chose to share about the baby birds in my garden taking flights.

I started watching and feeding birds in 2014. Over the years, there were mourning doves, house finches and hummingbird gave birth to their babies. I was fortunate to watch these amazing creatures laid eggs, nurtured their young, guarded them until they took flight.

In 2016, I noticed two mourning doves were courting and mating. This pair built their nest in a tree, but the eggs were stolen. I suspected it was the naughty squirrel. The female dove seemed depressed and was motionless, sitting in the grass for over 20 minutes. The male dove was sitting still two feet from her. Only after she got up and stretched that he also stood up. I was sad for them, but it was beautiful watching these doves mourned for their loss.

In 2017, the same pair of doves built a nest on the top of the stone windowsill under the eaves in the front yard. I thought it was the same pair because the male dove had a ring around one leg, same as the dove in the previous year. Probably someone tried to track him. They built the nest together. She laid two eggs. They took turns incubating the eggs. My research showed that mourning doves are monogamous. The male and female look so much alike, and it seems only the female incubates but in fact they switch shifts. In 2020 I noticed them switching shifts.

The mourning doves used the nest the house finches built on the trellis in 2015 and have used that in 2017, 2018, twice in 2019, and 2020. When the baby doves were ready to fly, they were as big as mature doves.

In 2015, the house finches built a nest on the top tier of the trellis at the front porch. The female bird laid four eggs but sadly the eggs were gone. I had no idea what happened. I have kept the nest clean and strapped a piece of chicken wire to hold the bottom of the nest. The house finches returned to the same nest in 2016, she laid three eggs and four baby birds were hatched. I didn’t see the baby birds flying away. The house finches didn’t use the nest after that.

I’m fortunate to have a baby ruby-throated hummingbird born in my garden in 2018. The nest is like a cheese ball the size of a golf ball. When my husband trimmed the orange tree, without knowing it, he barely missed that branch. When I noticed that cheese ball, I climbed up the ladder to look. Somehow, I touched the nest and scared the baby to fall on the ground. I was more scared than he and quickly picked him up to put him back in the nest. When the baby was ready to leave the nest, he flew to the next tree, clung on to it for a little while before he took off.

All these amazing birds, by the time the babies are ready to leave the nests, they are ready to fly. I wonder if they’ll see their parents again. Amazingly, the baby hummingbird stays. He has been living in my garden since he was born. I’m sorry to say the papa bird died last year. My husband found him on the grass. He was at least four years old. Mama bird doesn’t live here, but she comes by to play with the baby. I think he has a brother that comes by occasionally.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #144 – Baby Birds Taking Flight

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Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world

This week, the theme from Sheetalbravon is ‘A Glimpse into your world’She invited us to show the things we love that make our world spin or things about our world that make us delirious with joy.

The immediate world that fills me with inspiration and amazement is my garden. My morning routine, especially in the summer, is to visit the garden while I drink my coffee. After coffee, with the gardening tools in hand, I check the flower bushes, trim the dead branches, or dig up weeds.

I started feeding birds from 2014 and the regular visitors are Ruby Throat Hummingbirds, mourning doves, American Finch, American God Finch, Scrub Jay, Song Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, and a few I couldn’t quite identify. Over the years, there were baby Mourning Dove, baby House Finches, and One baby Hummingbird born in my garden.

There are other animals such as squirrels, stray cats, and lizards roaming during the day or at night.

I have many hobbies, more than I have time to fully enjoy each of them. Not included in the images here is photography, which I started as a teenager when the photos were black and white. Another hobby is ceramic. I did the whale free hand with clay. I made it into a nightlight for my baby daughter. When my daughter was nine years old, we took a ceramic painting class together in the summer. It’s something we continue doing separately until these days.

I learned to draw and watercolor painting as a young adult. After retirement, I took classes on both and used some watercolor painting to illustrate the poems in my book.

My immediate community of 35 years is a church fellowship and the group of ladies. They are a part of my world for fun, for friendship and support. Some of these friends’ kids and my daughter grew up together. The ladies gave a bridal shower to Mercy for her wedding. Some friends still send gifts to my granddaughters as their own.

Music has been my world since I was a kid. I didn’t have a family background to nurture my love of classical music. It seems to be a natural favorite. The first time I performed Handel’s Messiah was when I was still in Hong Kong.

Most of my family except for one sister are in Hong Kong. Lynton’s family is my extended family, and we see each other regularly.

The biggest world to me is my daughter’s family. My granddaughters lighten my heart and give joy every day. My daughter has a TinyBeans.com account where she posts multiple photos and videos daily to chronicle the kids’ growth and family activities. There was not one day I go without checking on what they do. Nora’s birthday on March 22, and I wish to visit them.  

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Thank you for reading. I hope to hear what the things you love that make your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy.

Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #110 – Creativity in the Time of Covid

This week, Tina’s theme for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #110 is “Creativity in the Time of Covid.”

Early in May this year, I spotted the Monarch feeding on the Salvia flowers. It renewed my interest to create a butterfly garden. My hummingbirds feed on the Salvia which attracts many bees. For all these reasons, I bought several Salvia plants and planted them in different spots in my garden.

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Milkweed is the host plants for butterflies to lay eggs. The bright color Tropical milkweed was my favorite, but it grows year-round in California, and interferes with Monarch migration and reproduction.

Several kinds of milkweed are California native plants. They die in the winter to encourage Monarch for migration. They come back in spring with fresh growth. After days of research and learned how to grow milkweed. I bought the Narrow Leaf and Showy milkweed.

Most milkweed seeds in North America need a cold moist stratification to encourage spring germination. Cold moist stratification is a technique used to simulate the real-world conditions a seed would receive outdoors after the frozen winter gives way to a warm, wet spring.

I wet a paper towel to make it damp but not dripping with water. Then I spread the Milkweed seeds out on the damp paper towel and fold it to fit inside the Ziploc bag, then placed it in the refrigeration for 30 days before planting.

The seeds were planted on July 10th and most of them grew into two or three inches in three weeks. The roots grew through the peat pods yet the seedlings were young. I added the extension of the pods with plastic cups filled with top soil and punched wholes at the bottoms for drainage.

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The seedlings continued to do well. I transplanted the five or six inches ones to the soil. It has been hot with 97o F to 99o F the last days. It will be 102o F this Wednesday. I used the chicken wire to create a Cylinda shape around the young plants and put a semi-transparent cover on top with opening for water, air and light, but protects them from the direct heat.

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One major area for most of the milkweed is exposed to the sun all day and the soil dries up fast. A cooler temperature would help the plants to establish. I transplanted some into bigger flower pots while waiting for a cooler weather.

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There are other butterflies in my garden such as this Swallowtail which will benefit from the milkweed.

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This has been a fun and learning creation of my butterfly garden during the pandemic. My hope is by summer next year, there’ll be caterpillars on the milkweed and butterflies fluttering in my garden.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #110 – Creativity in the Time of Covid

 

Thank you for reading this post. I look forward to hearing your comment. Please click the above link to view other posts or join this challenge.

 

 

 

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!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Lens-Artists Challenge #61: Precious Pets – Hummingbirds

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #24 – Seasonal

I came to Portland, Oregon in the US as a graduate student some forty years ago. It was November that year when I saw snow for the first time through a high ceiling window in the hallway of a meeting room. I jumped up and down and shouted, “It’s snowing. It’s snowing.” The local students walked by me and grinned. They might think, “What’s so exciting about snow? Silly.”

A month later during the winter break, I went with a group of students to Los Angeles and sat in the sun on Christmas day.

After graduated with my first master’s degree, I went to Seattle Pacific University to do my second master’s degree. That winter, Seattle welcomed me with 7 inches of snow. I was so excited and made a snowman with my leather gloves on my hands. Nobody told me that the leather would turn hard and stiff when it gets wet. I ruined the nice leather gloves.

I don’t do too well in cold weather, the weather in southern California seemed to agree with me and that is where I have stayed since finishing my study in Seattle.

My daughter is living in Portland, Oregon. She knows I love snow even though my body feels better in a warmer place. There was a heavy snow two years ago. The first thing she did was taking photos and sent them to me.

As far as southern California, it feels like summer is the longest season year round with a teasing winter and hair line period of autumn and short and sweet spring. The weather has been moderate besides the thunderstorm a couple weeks ago. I took photos of my garden today and have some beautiful flowers to share with you. Before I do that, just want to show you my baby hummingbird.

The baby hummingbird is eight months old. He is doing well and flying further away from the kitchen window. I know that the baby is not able to fly 900 miles straight to Mexico for winter, but I wasn’t sure if the parents were going. It’s December and the parents are still around. It seems like the family will stay for winter.

Baby hummingbird used to perch on the palm tree in the center of the photo. A month ago, he started to fly further from the feeder to the eucalyptus tree on the left. 

Here are the flowers in my winter garden.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #24 – Seasonal

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Colorful Hummingbird

The ruby-throated baby hummingbird in my garden is doing well. He prefers nectar from lavender flowers, but there are not enough flowers to give him the amount of nectar he needs. Mama and Papa feed exclusively from my feeders.

There is a small potted ficus tree in front of the kitchen window underneath the hummingbird feeder. The lavender bush is about five feet from the ficus tree. Baby Hummi flew to the lavender flowers to get nectar. After feeding, he flies to the ficus tree and perches on his favorite spot of the branch until the next feeding. Papa flies around and swoops him up so he gets to fly one round of the palm trees. He quickly comes back to the ficus tree and perches on his spot.

Two days ago, he tried the sugar water from the feeder and liked it. He goes back and forth between the lavender flowers and the feeder. Papa comes by every twenty minutes to take him on flying lessons.

There was a baby hummingbird last year did the same thing. He perched on the ficus branch most of the time and the parent came by to take him flying. When the parents went south for the winter, the baby stayed behind to feed on my feeder throughout the winter.

I was curious about the migration of the hummingbird. I did a research this morning and found out that I will have the baby stay with us for the winter. The website also describes the colors of the birds.

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The Colorful Hummingbird

The ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is a species of hummingbird that generally spends the winter in Central America, Mexico, and Florida, and migrates to North America for the summer to breed. It is by far the most common hummingbird seen in North America.

The adult male has a throat patch of iridescent ruby red bordered narrowly with velvety black on the upper margin and a forked black tail with a faint violet sheen. The red iridescence is highly directional and appears dull black from many angles. The female has a notched tail with outer feathers banded in green, black, and white and a white throat that may be plain or lightly marked with dusky streaks or stipples.

During migration southward in autumn along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, some birds embark on a nonstop 900-mile journey. Some older male and female birds were better prepared for long-distance flight than first-year birds by having higher body weights and larger fuel loads.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby-throated_hummingbird

Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Colorful Hummingbird

Share Your World – June 4, 2018

Cee posts excellent questions in this week’s Share Your World – June 4, 2018.

A piece of clothing from your younger childhood you still remember?

I came to the US 40 years ago as a student. I checked in 2 suitcases to my flight. I had one carry on, and my purse. I wish I had brought more sentimental items, but I couldn’t. In fact, my carry on was too full that the security people asked me to take out something to leave behind. The problem was that I packed them very tight. After I took out something and repacked them, the bag was bigger than before. If you like camping and roll every piece of clothing tight to make your packing compact, you could visualize how I packed my bag.

During my three years of studies in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, I moved 9 times. In 1980, I drove from Seattle to Los Angles, California by myself. It was 1,1 75 miles with 18 hours of driving. I stopped overnight in San Francisco. Next day I still arrived Los Angles after dark. The freeway was very intimidating to a new person in town.

Even if I had brought a piece of childhood clothing, it couldn’t have survived with so many moving. Fortunately, my sister had scanned some of my childhood photos and I made copies of them. The first one was when I was six years old. I wore a Chinese style top and matching fabric pants. The second photo was when I was in third grade with the school uniform, a white shirt and a blue skirt with straps.

 

 

 

Regardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility: If you could be an athlete what would you do?   Remember this is SYW, dreaming is always allowed.I would like to be a competitive swimmer. I learned swimming in the ocean when I was in Hong Kong. After I graduated from college and started working, it was hard to find time to go to the beach. I went swimming in an outdoor pool in a park. During one swimming, I slipped and almost got drown. Ever since then, I was afraid of water. I still swim, but only in shallow water.

The photo was taken when Mercy, Will and her friend participated in the Triathlon.

Swimming

In a car would you rather drive or be a passenger?

I had driven long miles during my working life. I stayed in the same school district for 25 years even though we moved three times. The furthest distance was 30 miles with heavy traffic. The longest time it took to go to work was two and a half hours. The driving put a lot of stress on me, so we moved closer, but it was still a 21 miles drive.

After I retired, I don’t like to drive too much, especially at night. If I had a choice, I prefer to be a passenger.

Lynton driving

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I appreciate that I could spend the time to do gardening, trim the grape vines, watching the Red Throat Hummingbirds, the House Finch birds, and the Mourning Doves.

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Cee’s Share Your World – June 4, 2018

 

Tuesday/Weekly Photo Challenge – Baby Birds in the Summer

Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge the prompt for this week is: Future

Weekly Photo Challenge is: Smile

I hope to see some baby birds successively hatched in the near future – summer 2018. Watching and feeding these birds put a smile on my face.

I have been feeding many kinds of birds. The Mourning Doves came back to my garden for the third year. The first year, the female dove laid eggs, but the eggs were stolen. 1) Last year, the female doves laid two eggs and both the male and female took turns to incubate the eggs. The eggs were successfully hatched to two healthy baby doves. I’m hoping the mourning doves will have chicks again this year.

I also have many House Finch in my garden. They had the same misfortune two years ago and lost their four eggs. 2) Last year, the female Finch laid three eggs and hatched four eggs. One must be twins. 3) The birds watched their chicks from the nearby tree. There are many pairs of House Finch in my garden. One pair checked out the old nest. I hope they would use the same nest to lay eggs again.

I feed them bird seeds every day to get them to be healthy and ready to be parents.

Mourning dove

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I bought a new Hummingbird Feeder. The Red Throat Hummingbirds seem to like the feeder. There are not too many blooms around yet. So, the Hummingbirds come every twenty minutes for feeding. They seem to be a pair, I don’t know where they would build a nest.

Red Throat Hummingbird

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I just identified the White Crowned Sparrows in my garden. They may have been coming for years, but I didn’t pay attention to their features and I just googled and identify them as White Crowned Sparrow.

White Crowned Sparrow 2

White Crowned Sparrow

I may not see the Hummingbird babies, but I do hope to see the Mourning Dove’s chicks and the House Finch’s chicks. That is my hope for the near future – summer. In the meantime, I’ll feed them well.

Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Baby Birds in the Summer

Weekly Photo Challenge: Smile