Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spring in February

I could feel it yesterday, but today I can smell spring. It has arrived mid-February.

I'm not the only one who senses it. The western fence lizard is out sunning on the roof top of its favorite summer home.

The grass spider has opened its doors and is inviting in any unsuspecting insects.

The photinia (a non-native plant) has sent its flower buds reaching for the sun.

And this morning the Allen's hummingbird chick left its nest. (earlier photos) It isn't quite ready to fly and mom is still feeding it, but it is days away from taking to the air. I had a feeling today would be empty-nest day.

Amazingly, the mother came right over to me this morning as if to announce her success. When I went to look out the window to see if I could spot the chick in the tree, the mother appeared again and showed me where her chick was sitting hidden in the leaves.

She fed it and then came right up to the window. There was an impatient scold in her gestures. I had looked long enough. For the past two weeks I have been documenting the status of this nest and this is the first time I have seen the mother near the chick.

AllenshumDR-1 is the earliest hummingbird to fledge in our yard in Southern California since I started keeping track nine years ago.

Are the birds nesting earlier in your yard or neighborhood? Are more or fewer chicks surviving? You can report what you observe at

The weather is predicted to turn stormy again this weekend. Is this just a burst of spring doomed to be thwarted by a plunge back into winter? Will the blooms open only to wither?

By Saturday the chick may be on its own. Instead of warm weather and nectar rich flowers, its first days may be learning to cope with an inclement and changing world.

No comments: