Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Twin Beaks -- The Hummingbird Saga Part 2

SUMMARY: Babies is all growed up!
Backfill: Added February 20, 2016

(Read Part 1 here: Twin Beaks Part 1)

Feb. 18 7:57 p.m.

Twin Beaks Wed evening update 1: Jeez, the nest is SO tilted! This is not an optical illusion: The ceiling is my slanted porch roof. I used a rope to pull one side of the attached vine so that the nest is less tilted. I hope that this helps rather than hurts.

Dang, these babies are BIG tonight! If they don't fly off tomorrow morning, I'll be surprised. Has to be in the next day or two, max.


Feb 19 9:28 a.m.

It is so hard to get the focus in the right place when you can't see through the camera and are just holding it against the roof and hoping.

The focus is the middle of their backs, too bad. But this gives a nice idea of their feathering and how adult they're looking.  (And see how the nest is still tilted.)


They hardly move at all, but yet they watch me very very carefully.

They are SO ready to be thinking about flying! [Sobs] Babies grow up so fast! (About 18 days, in fact.)

They are such twins!


Feb 20 11:36 a.m.

I've blocked off the deck (much to the dogs' confusion) to give them a chance if by chance they touch the ground when they leave the nest. Usually, they fly right off the bat, being proud hummers. It has been 13 days since I first knew there were chicks in the nest. They sure look pretty grown up, though.



Feb 21 4:43 p.m.

Saturday's babies are still here. They're moving around now, feeling more confident or wary or both, when I move around to take their photos, whereas previously they've frozen. If anyone missed yesterday's link, here's a summary of egg to independence:  Baby Hummingbirds from World of Hummingbirds.

Continues being tough to get them in focus--

Oops, just the feathers are in focus.


Oops, just the face is in focus. Mostly. 



Oh, yeah, pretty close!


I don't know how both birds fit in here!  I can't stop taking photos! I love the pattern on his neck/chin!



Feb 22 11:25 a.m.

I was way off on when the chicks would be flying. But that's OK, I get to see more activity. They sure are moving around a lot now--stretching, scratching, looking around, moving around in the nest. Haven't seen any wing stretching yet, though.

Mama continues to feed them regularly. I don't know where she sleeps. Hard to get a shot of her because she is very aware of motion or changed things in her environment.  So all shots of her are through the window, after standing there for minutes on end, trying not to cramp up while holding the camera against the window.


And speaking of windows--there is a downside to having a hummer nest right next to your windows.  The nest is in the very upper left corner. Check out my sliding glass doors.


Yes, this: Hummer poop everywhere. And I washed them not long ago to get rid of the poop that was already there so it would be easier to take photos. Didn't take long for the 3 of them to propel their waste everywhere once again.


From Understanding Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (mine are likely Anna's):
Housekeeping, Hummingbird Style 
With two nestlings eating and growing in the nest, how does the mother keep the nest clean? What happens to the fecal droppings of the nestlings? 
At one nest that was observed, the mother had lined up the nestlings’ fecal sacs in a row on a branch just above the nest. But generally, the mother either eats the feces, or she removes them and drops them at a distance from the nest to avoid attracting predators to the nest area. When the nestlings are mature enough, they back up to the nest’s edge and expel their feces over the side. Most species of perching birds manage nest sanitation in a similar fashion.

Feb 22, 12:16 p.m.

Twin Beaks, Saturday a.m. -- Still here, but looking more ready every day even though mamabird is still coming in every 20 minutes to cram food down their eager throats.

Live View on a DSLR: *Perfect* for all the hummer photos, as the nest is pretty much up at the ceiling, so I hold the camera also against the ceiling, where obviously I wouldn't be able to look through the normal viewfinder. (I tried holding the camera upside down to be able to, but that was a no-go.)

But, oh, my, I think the poop & holding the camera are worth it!


Feb 23, 10:39 a.m.

Tired of hummerchicks yet? Three photos today--this is about the best that I can get through the window looking up into the light coming through the roof.

I've been saying for a few days now that this HAS to be their last day in the nest! Look at these gorgeous birdies!


Hooooh, wowwww, hummingbirds have eyelashes!


These are my babies as seen from outside looking towards the house. FINALLY got both of their faces in focus together. I can't believe that they're not flying-look at the one perched on the edge there! (You can see that they turned around in the nest to keep an eye on me when I came outside.)




Feb 23, 4:16 p.m.

Hummingbird chick's first flights!

Hummingbird baby is flying!   (This is a long video with a lot of me talking and very little of the baby flying)  I managed to get two very quick flutters from one spot to the next. Then Mommabird coming to feed him. Then it gets a bit dull after 3:00. Around 4:30, momma feeds him again, then from 5:00-6:00 roughly he's stretching and preening and trying out his wings. Not great video, but I saw him taking one of his first flights! By the time I emptied my camera card and returned to the window, he was already back in his nest.




... And there's more to come!   (Read Twin Beaks Part 3)

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