Tracking Hummingbirds

hummingbird in winter

Hummingbird in winter

About three months ago, I decided to take part in a survey that tracks global hummingbird migration. The tricky part was recording the date two weeks after the last siting. The collected data helps researchers around the world better understand and protect hummingbirds. I’m all for that.

Guess what?

The hummers never left.  In late fall we had an early and unusual frost lasting five days.  The birds remained.  Trees dropped leaves and still the birds remained.  I worried that they were cold.

Then a few weeks ago I noticed our cat Lindy with her eyes glued to the sliding glass door.  She had an eye-level show of a hummingbird splashing around in the frigid fountain outside.  Stunned, I remained with her, eyes transfixed, until the little bather flew away.  I missed the photo-op, but enjoyed the show. I had a good laugh at myself for worrying that they were too cold.

In late March, Mike and I plan to attend a workshop on Hummingbirds through the Los Gatos Birdwatcher.  It’s a two-hour class, with a two-hour field trip the following weekend.  I can’t wait.  It will be fun to learn more about the birds specific to our area.  I’m looking forward to the class and to sharing what I learn with you.

You can read about hummingbird migration at World of Hummingbirds.
The Los Gatos Birdwatcher is one of my favorite shops.  They also offer workshops and services.

On a sadder note, I planned to link to the Phoebe Allen webcam in Southern California. Phoebe’s been nesting in a rose-bush several times a year since 2007. Last winter, several of us had our eyes glued to the nest as she went about the business of raising chicks.  It was incredible. Phoebe laid a brood in late December, but disappeared on January 8th. A bird rehabilitater is raising the chicks till they fledge.

When a Rose, Isn’t Just a Rose

Should I or shouldn't I?

Should I or shouldn’t I?

I’ve had my eyes glued to the inner branches of a rosebush all weekend. I’m right back at it today.  This isn’t just ‘any’ rosebush.  In fact, it’s not even my rosebush.

Tucked into the branches of this very special rosebush are a pair of nesting Allen Hummingbirds.  They’re expected to fledge at any time.  It’s mesmerizing watching the activity at the nest, something you wouldn’t normally see. Thanks to an astute gardener and the wonders of streaming video, you can see Phoebe’s nest 24/7 courtesy of a webcam just inches from the nest.

I’ve been snapping screen shots for the past few days, whenever ‘Faith’ or ‘Sandy’ start hovering above the golf-ball sized nest.  Most of my screen shots are false alarms.  Then, while I was seeing one of my boys off to school, one of the girls fledged the nest.

Then…she came back!  She left again (when I turned my back), and again returned.  It’s been quite the morning. I have two windows open on my computer as I write this, wishing you were all sitting here with me watching the show.

Sandy fledged, then returned

Sandy fledged, then returned

Once hatched, the hummingbirds leave the nest within twenty days or so.  Sadly, many don’t survive the first year, but those that do can live upwards of 12 years.  After watching the nest for so long, I’ve started to think of them as ‘my baby birds.’  I’ll bet everyone else feels the same way.  In fact, Phoebe has quite the following.  As of this writing, she’s had close to 15 million views in over sixty countries.

I encourage you to click on the webcam link below. If you miss the fledge, chances are she’ll be nesting again soon.  Phoebe returns to this rosebush every year, laying five clutches a season.

Here’s what you might see:

  • Mama Phoebe feeding her offspring.
  • Faith and Sandy fledging (leaving) the nest
  • Grooming (known as preening)
  • Dozing…so darn cute when they close those eyes

Be sure to tell a friend!

Phoebe Allen webcam streaming live from California (PST)

Phoebe, Sandy and Faith

Phoebe, Sandy and Faith

Phoebe feeds her brood every 15-30 minutes

Phoebe feeds her brood every 15-30 minutes

Trying out the wings

Trying out her wings

Dedicated to Erica and Joe. Thank you for making this all possible.