Friday, May 11, 2012

An Anna's Hummingbird Nest

May 11th and finally I've spotted a hummingbird nest. Some years there have been multiple in the yard at one time. Nests in 2010

This nest is a special find. It is an Anna's hummingbird nest. Fiesty little Allen's hummingbirds took over this territory about 10 years ago. Hummy. FIK. This smaller species has been pushing the Anna's out of residential areas in Southern California.

But we have had a lone female Anna's that has stuck it out and now the tide of Allen's seems to be waning a bit.

What makes this nest doubly exciting is the two tiny eggs tucked inside and the fact that it is built almost completely out of the natural cotton fiber that I put out a month ago. The Anna's hummingbird laced the natural cotton into this perfect egg cup using that strong and pliable fiber, spider web. Hummingbird nests are always a marvel, but this one is stunning.

I've seen nests in the past that have failed because female hummingbirds used man-made polyester fibers they found–probably sticking out of patio furniture in someone's backyard. These man-made fibers don't compress, don't provide the sturdy construction that is needed for a successful nest. They also don't react with water and weather the way natural fibers do.

I've been watching the bushtits and the goldfinches taking beaks full of the cotton fiber, but I never saw the Anna's girl. Yet, obviously she was making multiple trips.

Offering birds water, food and habitat can attract them to your oasis of a yard. Provide plants that offer shelter and they will take up residence. Go one step further, offer natural building materials that are hard to find in our human crafted landscapes and you will be rewarded with watching life renew.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So interesting what you say about Anna's making a comeback. I saw an Anna's in my garden in West Hollywood today for the first time in years. The Allen's really had made it their own, but this Anna's looked determined to stay and aggressively chased off one of the resident Allen's. The blooming Cleveland sage is a big draw.