Greetings to you Fellow Nature Lovers,
To-day I’ll like to take you a few blocks away from the river, because I want to introduce you to my grandiose garden event: 2 weeks ago my Anna’s backyard Hummingbird decided to build her nest right outside my kitchen window on a Manzanita branch. Personally I was concerned that the branch might be too fragile for this nest location. Clearly Mama Hum didn’t share my apprehension, because after a 10 day construction period she completed her nest, which is not much bigger than half a walnut shell.
Frankly ~ the prime front-row watching left me in stunned admiration for her exhausting, labor intense achievement. This tiny, tireless Mama schlepped minute cobweb threads, small dried leaf fragments, dried grass pieces to her chosen site. She arranged the material carefully into a sturdy base, sit on it for a moment, wiggle around a little and re-position pieces to her satisfaction. Then off she dash to retrieve more perfect items. It became obvious that she intended a ‘comfy’ home for her brood that was lined w/feather down. Locating this luxury item demanded longer search trips. It was truly a marvel to see the nest take shape, which entailed a lot of testing if additional parts needed to be incorporated. BTW: using cobweb threads is a brilliant idea, because they are remarkably strong, have ant-bacterial and anesthetic properties. One day she decided to decorate the outside nest with itty Manzanita bark chips. Mama Hum definitely knew what she was looking for! She examined the tree from every angle, scrutinizing the bark for flake harvesting, hold a selected piece in her beak, fly backwards for a second and drop it if it didn’t measure up to her standards. After some time the right bark was added to the outside that gained my salut for her exquisite choices and placement. Mama Hum’s nest has changed my home life style quiet a bit. Because I love her presence and the trust she gifts me by building her nest so close by I figure I owe her my new daily adjustments. After all my day starts with sharing my morning coffee with a beautiful bird calmly eyeing me. In exchange I want to offer her a safe breeding time.
Now I stopped acting like a paparazzo, respecting her dislike for being a bird model. I keep the kitchen noise and lights down, visitors are encouraged to speak with low voices in the kitchen, causing my 16 year old grandson to roll his eyes…which triggers my lecture that I owe the birds I love these small life modifications. Especially since I know that 11 bird species were declared extinct in fall of 2021 ~ the largest extinction batch ever announced by the U.S. government. This is on top of the news that the Santa Cruz Christmas Bird Count data shows that we are down 20 species from the late 1990 to the last 5 counts and birders are reporting less birds at their feeders. So I happily make my ‘sound’ to announce my presence when I approach her nest, figuring that she makes sounds to let me know what she is up to. It seems to work, because now she calmly stays on her nest, supervising my garden work.
It’s a fact: I enjoy including nature care into my daily life and try to match Nature’s attempts to survive with our daily presence. So I leave undergrowth, leaves, small wood piles in my garden as lizards, snakes, frog and Butterfly caterpillar habitat. Oh…& one more little habit: I don’t prune bushes, trees during the February 1 through September 1 bird breeding season unless I am 200% sure there are no active nests in the vicinity.
Thanks for letting me share my Mama Hum story with you and next time I’ll take you back to the river, until then ~ chirpy jane
8 thoughts on “because I love I owe…”
A lovely bird tale from you! Such respect, care, empathy and love for Mama humminbird … you and she intertwined in life. May your joy and wisdom spread …
I likely mentioned earlier that I used to work for a fearless bunch of arborists who were not deterred by fierce urban dogs, raccoons, mean kitties, . . . or much of anything, with one exception. They were terrified of any species of hummingbird defending a nest. Not only that, but the had such great reverence for these tiny birds that they would often delay work on any tree that they noticed hummingbirds taking claim of. I would say that I do not share their reverence; but there is one unidentified male hummingbird at work that I will avoid if I find that it is watching me. So far, it has not complained about anything that I have done. However, it makes it very clear that it owns part of a particular landscape. The female is much more tolerant of my presence, and is rarely seen, and only at a distance. I believe that they nest elsewhere, but appreciate the many hummingbird friendly flowers in that particular portion of the landscape. Incidentally, this particular portion of the landscape, which features several exotic species, was where our first eucalyptus was. Another eucalyptus was added two years ago, and a red ironbark eucalyptus was added a bit more than a year ago. A lemon gum eucalyptus should be added soon. The male hummingbird really seems to like the original eucalyptus, and is taking a liking to the second one as well, so I am confident that he will really like the red ironbark eucalyptus, with its red bloom. I do not know what is so appealing about the eucalyptus, but he flies around them very fast while making his excited chirping sounds.
How wonderful! Thank you for sharing it all!
Thanks & so happy that you like my nature vignettes!
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What a delightful story and I am very envious of your kitchen view of this entire process. What s gift!
Alas ~ my little Mama left her nest ~ I am grateful for the time we had together. Keep thinking of her & hope she is doing well…
…of her & hope she is doing well is the rest of my response. Some how the tech got emotional & sent too quickly.
Thanks for sharing this story and the beautiful photos. I’m always amazed by birds.