Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Learning Moments: Empty Nest Syndrome

Our empty nest

Well, we had a baby hummingbird that we named summer.
We watched mom build the nest and tend the eggs.
Then we watched our little hummer grow up.

Sunday night, Summer flew the coop. We went outside around 6pm and found the nest empty. Summer was sitting about 3 feet above the nest on a small branch. We watched her for the next two hours as she tested her wings. She seemed unable or unwilling to fly downwards. She just kept going higher and higher - sometimes grabbing branches that were too big for her feet, and then slipping and grabbing another branch.

When mom came for Summer's nightly feeding, she also found the nest empty. That kind of freaked her out. Summer was about 30 feet above the nest at this point, on the other side of the tree. As mom flitted madly about, Summer did something we had been waiting over a week for... she made her first noise. She called and called, but mom seemed to have very poor echo-location skills.

It was painful for us, to say the least. We could see summer, we could see the mom, but they couldn't find each other. This went on for about 30 minutes, until mom finally found summer and was able to feed her. We watched mom feed her until the sun went down and then we left them, hoping that summer makes it through her first night out of the nest.

I looked around on Monday morning. Mom was to be flying around, but no sight of Summer.
I climbed up and took a photo of the nest this morning. If you click on the image above, you'll see what I saw - another egg! Hummingbirds lay eggs in pairs. I'm assuming this one will not hatch, but I'll keep an eye on it over the next week to make sure.

Monday night, we saw Summer again. She made it through her first night, which was a relief to both of us. We look forward to watching her grow up.