hummers_300

Look, Ma, I can fly — almost

| The hummer babies have been very active in the nest for the past several days, and I've been watching avidly so as to not miss their first attempts to fly.

It's about 2½ weeks since the hummers hatched, and it is just amazing how much they have grown. They are now nearly as big as the mama bird, and the nest is extremely crowded. If one moves, the other has to move; no choice about it.

At times they are like a couple of puppies, squirming around in the nest, jostling each other. They've discovered that they can perch on the edge of the nest instead of hunkering down inside it. They look around, scratch their heads, and spend a great deal of time primping and preening, taking care that every single feather is in just the right spot. From time to time the stretch out and flutter their wings. It's obvious they're going to fly any day now.

I've been very curious about how this was all going to happen. Would the mother bird somehow teach them, or would they learn on their own?

Perhaps, I thought, the mama bird might coax them into flight, hovering close to the nest, chivvying them along: Come on, babies, you can do it! Fly to mama!

Or, perhaps she would just push them out of the nest: I'm tired of feeding you. It's time you learned to fly and do your own grocery shopping!

On the other hand, it might be an accident. One might fall out of the nest and while flailing about discover it could fly and avoid crash-landing on the concrete.

Yesterday they were particularly active, especially right after being fed. It was almost as if they wanted to follow her away from the nest, but just didn't dare. The more rambunctious one I call Rupert, although I have no idea whether it's male or female. The other I call Minnie.

Then, late in the afternoon, it happened. Rupert was up on the edge of the nest, fluttering his wings with gusto. At one point he let go of the nest and actually hovered in mid-air for about two seconds before grabbing hold again. He sat there, visibly panting. Poor thing, probably scared himself half to death.

Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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