Peek into a hummingbird nest…June 10th, 2014
…and see what hatches from a jellybean-sized egg!
Over the course of a few weeks this past May, SPES volunteer photographer Michael Schmidt documented the lives of a pair of hummingbird chicks as they hatched and developed into fledglings. Over 3000 people followed their development on Facebook and many more witnessed snapshots of their growth on Global News and in The Province newspaper.
Here, in pictures, we offer a complete review of this tiny bird’s secret life. You can view more of Michael’s hummingbird photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmichaelschmidt/.
A female Anna’s hummingbird nestles into her nest. Males and females do not form a lasting bond. The female alone constructs the nest and raises the young.
Two jelly-bean sized eggs fill an egg-cup sized nest. The nest is weaved from spider web strands, moss and feathers with a lichen exterior. Mom sits on the eggs for 14 – 19 days.
The chicks, now about a week old, fill the nest forcing mom to the edge. Besides nectar, insects are an important part of the hummingbirds’ diet. These babies need protein to grow.
The chicks grow quickly and will become independent at only 18-23 days!
It’s a tight squeeze after only two weeks of growth!
Mom brings one of their last meals before the chicks leave the nest to find their own lunch.
June 1: Launch day…almost. Of the two chicks, this smaller one only made it to a nearby currant bush while its stronger sibling buzzed about searching for food and testing its wings. Eventually mom found the almost upside-down fledgling and poked some food into it. We are happy to report this chick flew to another bush and was likely independent the next day.
The empty nest. Starting in February, Anna’s hummingbirds can lay up to three clutches per season! This was likely the last hummingbird brood to occupy the nest. Next year the female will build a new nest, leaving this one for SPES to display in the Stanley Park Nature House. Come by for a visit!