Saturday, July 28, 2012

in plain sight

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are marvels of bioengineering.

The very fact that these little dynamos even exist and build nests and lay eggs and migrate to Central America like other birds is miraculous, but miracles can be small and capricious, even fanciful.

Hummingbirds tend to hide in plain sight. A mote of dust that pass before our eyes at speeds to swift to comprehend. People often ask, "How do I find one of their nests?" I answer, "It's not easy." You need luck and keen eyesight. The nests are small and the trees they blend into vast.

As an example, I received this remarkable series of photos from Tina Heath. Finding the nest in the first photo is not easy but it's there in plain sight.

Tina e-mailed, "My son and his friend discovered that we have a hummingbird nest in the tree behind our house. There was a nest in the same tree a couple years ago, but I never found one last year. They are so tiny and flit around so fast that I was amazed to catch this picture of it in flight. They always seem to build their nest in this tree which hangs out over the water, but not very high up in the tree. These pictures are misleading because they are blown up. The nest is really about the size of a walnut!"


Aby said...

Beautiful pictures, really nice.

Marie said...

I still have the nest of the hummingbird that built in the ivy on the edge of my patio about 31 years ago! That was quite an adventure, watching the babies hatch and fledge! At one point we thought the nest had been abandoned (or the mother killed) and the Desert Museum told us to start feeding the babies with sugarwater (and to also get some protein powder to add to it) but the mother came back after an absence of about a day and a half. Still, the whole experience was just amazing!