Miracles Come in Small Packages

Out of the corner of my eye I see a fluttering movement in the green of the forest and when I espy a hummingbird, I’m not surprised, as there are a number of species who bless us with their presence during the summer months. My slightly nonchalant sensation changes once I watch this female dive under a leafy scrub oak canopy and remain hidden. When I detect a little cup underneath her my heartbeat quickens. She is sitting on a nest!

I call out to my husband, who is a few paces ahead of me on the narrow trail that winds through the higher reaches of Cheyenne Mountain State Park, where we are hiking on this July 4 morning. When Mrs. Broadtail floats into the air again, likely disturbed by our presence, we snatch a quick glimpse (and a photo) of the inside of the nest. It contains two nondescript white eggs the size and shape of jelly beans. We are smitten. After we retreat to a distance that makes her feel safe, she returns to her nest, and I snap a few more images of the artistic and attractive little nursery she has fashioned out of the naturally available building materials.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Females build and tend the nests alone. She forms the nest cup by twisting the material around with her body and feet while sitting in the nest. The thick inner cup is made out of spiderweb and gossamer, and after forming the cup, she camouflages the outside of it with bits of lichen, moss, and bark fragments. It takes about 4–5 days for her to build a nest, less if built upon a previous nest. The nest has an outer diameter of about 2 inches and a 0.8-inch inside diameter, but it stretches as the chicks grow, becoming more platform shaped. Sometimes the female will reuse a nest from a previous season, adding fresh material to what was left.

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds incubate their eggs for 16 to 19 days and their offspring stay in the nest for 21 to 26 days before they fledge. With a fuller heart we take our leave, bidding her and her two precious packages Godspeed, fully intending to check in on them in the next couple of weeks.

PS: The nest is visible in the center of the featured photo on top, in case you missed it the first time.

66 thoughts on “Miracles Come in Small Packages

  1. What a fabulous find, Tanja, you did so well to spot such a tiny, well camouflaged nest. I’ve enjoyed seeing hummingbirds on several occasions in the US, Costa Rica and Trinidad, but have never been privileged to see one on the nest. Once again I find myself overwhelmed by critter-envy! 🙂

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  2. Hello dear Tanja,
    Oh what a special, special moment you have come across! A true miracle indeed. I am so happy for you and your husband and will keep fingers crossed that you will witness a happy family within the next few weeks.
    Hummingbirds are not native to Japan, so it is a real treat to see them here, and the information you provide is so helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh wow she’s so adorable😍💕 When a bird lay a egg, the place is considered as safe, so good job keeping your place safe and attractive👏👏👏 When chick comes out of the egg, do share it with us🐣💕✨

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  4. I rarely see a hummingbird, and I’ve never seen a nest. What a wonderful discovery, and how nice that you were able to photograph it with such clarity and detail. A bird on a nest always makes me happy, but I can imagine your happiness was greater than usual on this day.

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    • You are right, Lindy, we were very happy about this special encounter. I will be even happier if I find the nest again and see that the eggs will have transformed into healthy hummingbird babies who then grow into adulthood.

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  5. Wie niedlich!!! ❤️ Du Glücksind 🙂 Was für tolle Fotos. Ich bin hin und weg. So süß, wie dieser kleine Vogel auf dem kleinen Nest sitzt. Dann das schöne Muster am Hals. Ein so schönes Punktmuster! Und das Nest selber ist auch allerliebst. Diese Flechtensammlung ist super und dann noch Spinnweben, die verbaut werden. Habe ich noch nicht gehört, aber die sind bestimmt praktisch, lach. Toll alles. Danke für diese schönen Bilder. Schwelg! LG Almuth

    Liked by 1 person

    • Es freut mich sehr, daß Dich das Kolibrinest ebenso begeistert hat wie mich, liebe Almuth. Wir waren übrigens heute wieder dort und es gab zwei winzigkleine Babys im Nest. Nun schwebe ich wieder im siebten Himmel und drücke der Familie ganz fest die Daumen. Werde in einer Woche wieder hinwandern, und sie hoffentlich gesund und munter vorfinden.
      Herzlichen Gruß,
      Tanja

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  6. Ah, great captures! We only have Ruby-throated Hummers here, so this was a treat. Actually, a double treat. When a black bear visited our neighborhood (including coming on my front porch!) it smashed my neighbor’s hummngbird feeders. Sadly, I then took my hummer feeders down for safety. How I miss watching them!

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    • Thank you, Julie. We also have a bear/bears in the neighborhood and we bring in our feeder at night and take them out in the morning. That’s not a guarantee that no bear will stop by, but I think it lessens the chance of attracting them into your yard significantly. Just something to think about. Right now, we have 4 hummingbird feeders going and luckily they are very busy. 😊

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