To see a hummingbird in its nest

Yellow Flower

To see a hummingbird in its nest has been on my Life Bucket List for quite some time. Today that experience became a reality in Pine Island, Minnesota.

babies in nest

This is the nest that was found this year. It is hard to tell, but we believe there are two baby hummingbirds in this nest. Trying to not get too close, through the lens of my camera I could see at least one small part (not even as big as my fingernail) moving up and down like a heartbeat. It was amazing. I was pretty sure I saw two yellowish parts that would be the baby’s beaks, and there were pinfeathers, these delicate little feathers baby hummingbirds get before they get their “real” feathers. One egg had been spotted in this nest May 23rd. From what I read, hummingbirds typically lay two eggs. The eggs do not have to be laid on the same day. Oddly enough, if the hummingbird does have two eggs, most likely they will hatch at the same time. We guessed these hummingbird babies to be approximately 10 days old.

tiny mouth

While watching the nest, I saw the most miniature of movements and a little mouth appeared. I imagined it saying, “Mama, I’m hungry. Where are you?”

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The mama came fluttering up the back side of the tree’s trunk zipping back and forth in and out of leaves, rapidly looking all around to be sure it was safe to go to her nest. Watching her, I barely breathed and did everything I could to hold still, sweat sliding down the back side of my t-shirt and into the waistband of my paints, mosquitoes buzzing in my ears and landing on my arms. I must have been still enough, because the mama hummed up to her nest and began feeding her babies. Moving only one finger to press the shutter release on my camera, I did what I could to capture the beauty of the little mama back behind the leaves. Good job, Mama, I said to her in my mind. Good job.

mama on nest

After the babies were fed, their mama took a moment to rest and be close to them.

nest from other side

She didn’t rest long before she flew off again. When she did, I moved from where I was standing and walked over to the other side of the tree to snap a picture of the nest from another angle. I wanted to get up close to it again, but I knew the right thing to do was to look from a distance. I was just so moved by the little house and the little hummingbirds. It was hard for me to believe there really were two babies up there in that small little nest. My children were impressed that such an itty bitty house (which they thought looked like a squashed brownie) could hold two babies, even if they are small. They wondered how anyone would ever find a hummingbird house just walking through the woods. I wasn’t sure. I hadn’t been the one to find this nest, but I could have sat and watched it and the hummingbirds all day. Hummingbirds are amazing. To witness their lives this was a precious, unforgettable gift.

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As luck would have it, the hummingbirds weren’t the only babies my family and I got to experience today. We also saw what we believe are two baby Robins (sorry, I’m no expert – smile). One baby was in a tree. The other baby was on a gooseberry bush. My daughter and I walked toward the baby Robin on the gooseberry bush, careful to not scare it by getting too close. A breeze whispered through and I smiled at the trees around us alive with bird songs. My baby girl looked at the baby bird, and I snapped a photo of the baby bird looking back at her. What a special moment. I loved that I got to share that with my daughter. She loved it too.

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To see a hummingbird in its nest has become one of my most magical Life Bucket List items. I’m so thankful my family and I were blessed with such an experience.

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