We Have Pinfeathers! Hummingbird babies growing up fast

mother sittin on nest

mother sitting on nest

It’s been fun to see how quickly these chicks are growing – every day they are noticeably bigger.  We are on day 12 for the 1st chick, day 11 for the 2nd. They fill the nest almost to the brim, and their little heads are often propped up on the edge.  When they squirm around, the nest expands and bulges. Their little beaks are starting to gain a little length, and I’m nearly certain their head feathers are green.  I can definitely see pinfeathers on their wings (which will be growing into real flight feathers soon – they fledge sometime between 18 and 23 days. Hard to believe!)

One very interesting thing I’ve noticed was the dramatic change in the mother’s behavior at about day 7. For the 1st 7 days, she sat on them all the time, leaving briefly to get food, feed them, and continue to sit on them. At about day 7 she seemed to be gone. A whole day went by without me seeing her.  She still wasn’t there the next morning (it seemed) and I was so worried that something had happened to her.  But when I went up and checked on the babies, they certainly were looking fat and healthy. So, I waited downstairs for a few minutes, and of course she flew right up and fed them (I could actually see their little heads poking up over the edge of the nest!) and immediately flew away again. Either they take so much work to feed, or she just doesn’t fit in there anymore.  Probably a little of both, combined with the fact that they’re so “big” and fat that they can keep each other pretty warm by now.

I continue to be frustrated by my inability to photograph or even see them that well. My camera doesn’t want to zoom in close enough (even though they are so close – less than 6 feet away), and it’s so dark where they are. I’ve brought 3 pairs of binoculars to work, but none of them have been able to focus on something so close. Grrr.  Here are a few photos that will hopefully give you an idea of what’s going on, but I promise to try and find another way to get good photos. Thanks to Gerry upstairs for the first 3 photos – he has a better camera than mine.

you can see her pink throat

you can see her pink throat

The first hatchling at 2 days old

The first hatchling at 2 days old - 2nd hatchling is closer to us, up against the wall of the nest

day 11 - you can kind of see how the beak is getting longer and the head feathers are green

day 11 - you can kind of see how the beak is getting longer and the head feathers are green