NPR logo Hummingbirds: The Video!

Ketzel's Garden

Hummingbirds: The Video!

OK, this may be my penultimate post about the hummingbirds recently hatched outside my window. My wonderful web producer (he of the excrutiatingly high standards) has softly suggested I consider blogging about something else. Like — just an idea here — plants?

And indeed, I will (any day now!), but first let me invite you to see life through my eyes: standing on the front porch, crouched in a fairly miserable position, camera aimed at the action in the nest.

Here it is, unedited and unemcumbered (oh shut up already) ... the video:



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I can certainly understand your enthusiasm for these birds; it's not often that an opportunity to get up close and personal comes your way! I, for one, will be sad when the hummingbird series is over. This reminded me so much of the mejiros that I photographed (and videoed!) at my parents' home in Hawaii.

Sent by Rowena Castelli | 6:27 PM | 4-3-2008

Nice video - I can appreciate the Soprano's ducks nod, too. See you for your latte.

Sent by mb | 10:43 PM | 4-3-2008

Awesome Ketzel, it's just like being there, you can even see those little threadlike tongues.

Sent by Andrea | 2:04 AM | 4-4-2008

We humans can learn so much about love from the softness and naturalness of nature.

Sent by Shaindle Schmuckler | 10:05 AM | 4-4-2008

Watching this is always a reminder of how beautiful life truly is.....if only you are paying attention. Thanks for paying attention and sharing!

Sent by Kari Jo | 12:18 PM | 4-4-2008

Utterly wonderful, Ketzel. I hope when those little ones are ready they will fly across the river and pay my flowers a visit.

Sent by Eloise Damrosch | 12:56 PM | 4-4-2008

There's no way I'd make it to work if I had those nesting outside my window. I'd have to call in sick. They are precious!

Sent by Michele | 1:01 PM | 4-4-2008

Awesome! I'm so glad you shared this.

Sent by Emily | 1:04 PM | 4-4-2008

Those Hummingbirds are so cute. Great shot, I would have love to have really seen it.

Sent by Emma Pewsey | 3:37 PM | 4-4-2008

Neato! Super video, thanks for sharing.

Sent by Lee | 9:56 AM | 4-5-2008

I've read that hummers will return to use a nest for several years. Sure hope it's true. I'd love to see your hummer again.

Sent by Carole | 11:31 PM | 4-6-2008

Wow- amazing! The garden awakening never ceases to thrill me, and it is always the simplest things that strike the cord that resonates- the first opening of the trillium, the fiddleheads... I have an apple blossom clematis that is cascading down a 12 foot tower right now and is stunningly beautiful.

Sent by Elizabeth Eckstrom | 1:39 AM | 4-7-2008

Hmmm, your separation anxiety may not last long. My mama hummer had one baby, and now she is visibly pregnant again. I read they can have more than one brood in a season and even use the same nest.

Sent by sharon M | 3:36 PM | 4-7-2008

We north Idahoans eagerly await the April arrival of our precious world traveling hummers---truly the first sign of spring. Our weather (it's still snowing!) is too harsh for them to stay year-round. Any day now we'll have black-chinned, rufous, and calliope hummers to entertain us throughout the summer with their acrobatics, fussin' & fighting, and personal dramas with babies. For the past several years, I mark the date on the calendar when the first hummer is spotted in my yard. Last year it was April 14th...Any guesses for 2008?

Sent by MaryB in Northern idaho | 1:13 AM | 4-8-2008

So a couple of questions come to mind:

Do H'birds use the same nest?
Is this year early or late for H'birds?
When the nest's empty, is all the joy of life gone?

Sent by Ketzel Levine | 2:04 PM | 4-9-2008

Hi, Ketzel. Love the Hummingbird video. How do the parents keep from poking the baby birds with their needle-like bills? They must move so precisely and delicately. I am fascinated by birds. We've had some Anna's Hummerbirds in our flowers too, but I envy your nest. How do you get anything done with such distracting beauty outside your window?

Sent by Caitlin | 6:13 PM | 4-9-2008

I don't know about using the same nest again, but my wife and I have seen a hummer perching on the same branch of the same tree for several weeks each year. This is the third year.

Sent by Phil | 8:29 PM | 4-9-2008

Ketzel- Some answers to your above questions: Anna's h'birds don't reuse the same nest, but often they will rebuild another nest in the same spot. They love gooseberries (which are in bloom in winter), and that enables them to breed earlier than other types of h'birds.

Sent by MaryB in Northern Idaho | 12:05 AM | 4-10-2008

Your posts remind me of a poetry book I use with my students, called Hummingbird Nest, by Kristine O'Connell George. It's a series of poems about the experience of having a humminbird nest and hatch out young on her porch.

Sent by Alice H. - central PA | 1:06 PM | 4-10-2008

We are looking forward to ours arriving --in two to three weeks. I love them and do not grudge you a word. They are basically improbable, maybe a special efffect (like Tie-Fighters in Star Wars). You are so lucky to have a nest to watch and I am glad you appreciated it (even if your web producer doesn't get it). Laura in NH

Sent by LauraJ | 10:29 PM | 4-11-2008

I'm late getting back to the blog ,hence am privileged to read all the hummer bits at once. Lovely. a big fooey on whomever couldn't see the plant tie-in..gee!
A tiny tale to share: While carrying on at the local garden centre re the hummer I saw outside my winter window (mid-Jan), a nonchalant plantsman allowed as how "of course they stay if you have mahonias"... I rushed back to the gardens and counted... so many of varied types... wowee .. we'd be having hummers all winter! And so we have. Because of the different varieties, the blooms have stretched from Nov on.. some are still blooming... and the hummers are being joined by returnees. I thought the birds only liked mahonia Fruit! So now I have another reason to love the collection of tall spiny wierdos and another proof that gardenkeeping is always revealing something new. Thanks again for sharing the hummer saga.

Sent by Ginny -lee | 2:56 PM | 4-17-2008

Incredibly heavenly--Thank you for a lovely job of Sharing.

Sent by Carolynn Rodgers | 5:33 PM | 4-18-2008

Today is the first day of "my" spring as I spotted two h'birds on my feeders....the first of 2008! This is 2 weeks later than last year. I guess the fact that we've had snow twice this week didn't scare them away. HAPPY SPRING!!

Sent by MaryB in Northern Idaho | 7:09 PM | 4-26-2008

Interesting video of hummingbird mothers taking care of their young.
I live in Mississippi where we only have the ruby throated birds and Rufus visit during their migrations. I understand that hummingbirds can fly over 500 miles across the gulf to South America. It seems impossible but they are God's gift to us!

Sent by Ron Ogan | 11:53 PM | 6-8-2008

How wonderful! Tell your web producer there are people out there who think of hummingbirds as an intregal part of the garden and the plants there. I find them utterly fascinating and am on constant surveillance for them in the yard. Thanks for sharing!

Sent by Jennifer Baumbach | 1:37 PM | 6-11-2008

I viewed this video to see a baby because several days one has been flying around me and feeding from my petunias and cardnial vines. At first, I thought it was a big bug, but today I had a close look. I went for my camera, but I wasn't fast enough. I noticed the hummingbirds feed about the same time each day, and I will be waiting with my camera...Daisy

Sent by Daidy | 1:30 PM | 7-23-2008