The Empty Nest

Back in July of this year, July 5th to be exact, a female hummingbird decided to build a nest on one of the tendrils of a hanging basket on my patio.

At first I didn’t know what I was seeing, I thought it was some sort of web or something; then I noticed the tiny hummingbird busily working on her nest.  The nest-building took about two weeks to complete.  Tinkerbelle (the name she was given) worked diligently back and forth bringing bits of spider webs and down, placing them around and inside the cone-shaped nest; she would then get  inside her creation and appear to be stomping down  the nesting material to ensure a soft home for her babies.

On July 14th she laid her first egg.  I had been watching her in the nest that morning and she didn’t appear to be building anymore but she did look like she was in some sort of distress – bird labor, I was guessing.

So Tinkerbelle sat on her nest all the time now, with the only exception being when she was feeding.  Like a good Guardian, I set out five hummingbird feeders so Tinkerbelle wouldn’t have to go too far to feed.  On July 16th she laid her second egg.  Just as a point of reference, the eggs are smaller than a tic-tac.

Tinkerbelle sat day and night for the next 2 weeks, only leaving to feed.  On July 29th, I noticed her continually flying around another hanging basket on the patio that housed a Momma Dove and her 2 chicks.  I figured she was protecting her own baby.  When she left to feed, I snapped this picture – Baby Number One, known to me as Twiddle-de-Dee had been born, probably the day before.

On July 31st the second egg hatched, I named this chick Twiddle-de-Girlie.  I saw half of the egg on the patio floor – when Tinkerbelle left to get food for the chicks I snapped these pictures.  Check out the size of the egg compared to the dime I laid on the floor next to the egg.  And see the newly hatched chick inside the nest, next to her 2 day old brother, Twiddle-de-Dee.  All I can say is, totally awesome! – To be able to be this close to nature is truly a gift from God!

For one more week, Tinkerbelle sat on the nest protecting her babies.  She  occasionally darted around the baby doves and baby mockingbirds on the ground protecting her offspring.  She constantly left and then returned to feed
the chicks.  Unfortunately, I was never able to get a picture of her feeding them but you can see their little beaks sticking up waiting for her return with nourishment.
Then around August 10th or so I noticed that she was leaving the nest alone at night and not sitting on the nest during the day.  The nest was getting crowded;  the babies were growing – there wasn’t any room for Tinkerbelle.

On Wednesday, August 17th, Twiddle-de-Dee flew from the nest.  I was standing on the patio at the exact moment he took flight.  What a beautiful sight!  Youth taking wing!  A cycle of life!  How precious and I was so lucky to be able to witness this phenomenon.

On Thursday night, we had a particularly violent monsoon storm.  I was so afraid the wind was going to blow Twiddle-de-Girlie out of her nest.  I stood in the gusting wind holding the plant still while the winds whipped and the lightning flashed, until I realized that I was putting myself in danger, standing under a tree in an electrical storm holding a potted plant in a wire mesh holder still so it wouldn’t sway in the wind.  Thankfully, the chick remained in the nest
and the winds calmed down.

The next day I snapped this final picture of Twiddle-de-Girlie in the nest.

I somehow knew that the next time I looked out  the window; she would have joined her brother in flight.

So now the  nest is empty!  And once again, I am  feeling the effects of the empty nest, but thankful for the opportunity to  witness such a wonderful event.  Life is
truly good and I am truly blessed!

6 responses to “The Empty Nest

  1. Hi Arlene, so glad this ended with a happy ending. Hopefully they’re still safe and doing what hummingbirds do. I hope you’re well and I will call you soon. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. Be well mi amiga.

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    • Yes, Nelson it was a wonderful thing to watch. A friend told me that her Dad had a hummingbird who nested in the same type plant on his patio and for years and years later the momma bird came back and had babies every summer. It sure would be nice if Tinkerbelle returns next year.

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  2. What a special treat to read and see those events! I remember you telling me about some of it when we talked. How lucky you were able to see this unfold and even luckier to get those pictures. I’ve seen only one yes one hummingbird in my entire life, so this was a sweet site for my eyes. I also loved seeing your beautiful mosaics on the back fence.
    Hope all is going well Arlene and thank you for the uplifting story!

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    • Thanks Maggie – I truthfully felt like my own little piece of paradise was unfolding right outside my living room window. And thanks for the compliment about my mosaic work, working to fill up that wall is another joy of mine.

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  3. Love your post and photos. thought I was reading a short story. The Lord sure has blessed you with art and nature right in your own back yard. Awesome, only you kid ❤

    Xo Deb

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    • Thanks Deb, I sure do feel blessed having been able to witness this story unfolding. The pictures, however, weren’t that clear I’m afraid, my camera is definitely not great quality. Usually I’m photographing a piece of glass or mosaic and it seems to do just fine for that, but nature shots – not so sure. And yes, I think I am where I am supposed to be at this time in my life, the Lord continues to show me that. Thanks for your support, talk to you soon.

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