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Friday, July 20, 2012

Fledging day! The baby hummingbirds have left the nest

Imagine my surprise when on Day 21 I went out to photograph Itty and Bitty yesterday and immediately realized the nest was empty. There were no little heads and beaks peeking out over the edge :( I worried I'd missed them fledging but then realized the mama hummingbird was chattering up a storm as I approached the empty nest. Aha! That told me the babies were still in the yard. I paused and began looking around and who did I see sitting in our dying lemon tree?

Baby Hummingbird, Lemon Tree


Baby Hummingbird, Lemon Tree

It took a few more minutes to locate Itty!

Baby Hummingbird, Mom

I stepped back and mama flew in to feed her babies. I read on Wikipedia that when a baby has the feathers and muscles to fly the stage is called "fledge." But if they are still being cared for by its parent(s) it is called a "fledgling."

Mom Feeds Fledglling

This was one of two meals I watched her feed her fledglings in the lemon tree.

Fledgling Hummingbird Chick, Mom

It was a really precious moment.

Fledging Hummingbird Feeding

All done.

Flying Female Hummingbird

Mama flew away but remained nearby.

You can watch a video of the first time I saw Bitty fluttering his/her way up the tree. After the feeding from mom, quite suddenly, little Bitty took off to practice flying up on the phone and power lines in our backyard.

Baby Hummingbird Learns to Fly

I couldn't help but feel anxious as Bitty flew up to the cable passing over our yard. He/she just looked so vulnerable and little all alone up there.

Hummingbird Chick on Wire

Up on the wire Bitty looked relaxed and tasted the breeze.

Fledgling, Hummingbird Chick

And then took off even higher!

Baby Hummingbird, Transformer

Heading up to the power lines along a transformer he/she couldn't have looked tinier.

Resting Baby Hummingbird

Meanwhile Iitty rested quietly in the tree with coloring that worked as perfect camouflage with the branches and leaves.

Scratching Baby Hummingbird

With closed eyes Itty dropped a wing and raised a foot to give a scratch.

Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Mom, Baby

Mama came back for another feeding. I took this blurry picture that seemed like a fitting way to close this post and our adventure of following Itty and Bitty. It's kind of like how memories can look in your mind over time all sweet, soft and nostalgic.

I'll definitely be suffering from empty nest syndrome. There's a chance mama will lay a second clutch in our yard this year. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping she will.

If you want to view all of the baby hummingbird posts since day 1 just CLICK HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Oh that's so precious! Your photos are brilliant :-) I just witnessed something like this today. I rescued a fledgling and put her back into the tree. She couldn't quite fly yet--tail feathers not quite fully developed. But mom was there all day feeding the little nugget. I hope she'll be okay overnight perched on the branch she's clung to all day. I'm worried.... but that's what these magnificent little critters are designed to do... I was hoping to see the little one flutter to a different branch, then at least I'd know she can fly. It's night now and I don't think I'm going to get any sleep worrying about the little thing. But seeing your post makes me feel a bit better, seeing that baby perched on a branch. What an absolute treat to get so up close and personal to a baby hummingbird.


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