Our personal gardens can be a safe haven for many nesting birds. Just recently at El Presidio, I have been fortunate enough to document a very special hummingbird nest in one of our trees. It took me years to develop this garden and only now am seeing the greater benefits of my work.
We added a water feature several years ago and it has attracted many interesting birds into our shady Mexican courtyard. I also have feeders up near my observation window which allows me to document the birds visiting our bird baths, trees and cactus.
In March, I saw a male Broad-billed Hummingbird on the property catching bugs above our fountain. It didn't take long before I noticed a female joining him. This was a first for this species since we've owned our home.
I heard the rattle one day leaving my bedroom door and saw the female fly by me. My eyes followed her back to a nest right above my cactus garden. About two weeks passed as she sat on the nest everyday. Then she was gone. I got nervous and thought, Oh no! The nest failed! It's hard not to take personally because a lot of sweat and blood went into creating the gardens. There is ownership in that kind of work. But I noticed something different. There were little black fecal sacs around the edge of the nest.
A few days later, I saw two swords sticking out of the nest.
They became larger. And Mom guarded their nest.
All around our property, she collected bugs and nectar to feed not only herself but her offspring.
They continued to grow. I kept asking myself, "Does Mom do ALL the work? Where is Dad?" I kept observing and eventually had my questions answered. The babies grew.
Eventually one sat in the nest. The other.....
Hopped out and flew to the nearby tree and fence. I only saw the little one once. I was so nervous for the baby. The mother kept protecting the nest by chasing off birds like House Sparrows, White-winged Doves and Verdins.
Then I saw the father return and feed from the Orange Jubilee that grows in my garden. While Mother kept the little ones safe, the Father monitored a larger area protecting his family. A male CANNOT take care of the little ones. His bright colors would lead predators straight to the nest. That's why the females are a duller color in most of the bird species. Nature knows best:)
It's hard not to worry about the little ones. It's very human of me. The birder knows best, but it's the human part of me that FEELS and wants to PROTECT them. The only thing I can do is make sure the hummingbird feeders are changed out with fresh nectar. Another recommendation by Sheri Williamson is to add fruit to the nearby feeders to increase the bug activity. Mom would often drink from the feeders and capture bugs which would then be fed in the form of a "slurry" to the nestlings.
|Male Broad-billed Hummingbird|
|Straight out of my garden! What an amazing flower show!|