Greetings to you Fellow Nature Lovers,
To-day I’ll like to take you a few blocks away from the river, because I want to introduce you to my grandiose garden event: 2 weeks ago my Anna’s backyard Hummingbird decided to build her nest right outside my kitchen window on a Manzanita branch. Personally I was concerned that the branch might be too fragile for this nest location. Clearly Mama Hum didn’t share my apprehension, because after a 10 day construction period she completed her nest, which is not much bigger than half a walnut shell.
Frankly ~ the prime front-row watching left me in stunned admiration for her exhausting, labor intense achievement. This tiny, tireless Mama schlepped minute cobweb threads, small dried leaf fragments, dried grass pieces to her chosen site. She arranged the material carefully into a sturdy base, sit on it for a moment, wiggle around a little and re-position pieces to her satisfaction. Then off she dash to retrieve more perfect items. It became obvious that she intended a ‘comfy’ home for her brood that was lined w/feather down. Locating this luxury item demanded longer search trips. It was truly a marvel to see the nest take shape, which entailed a lot of testing if additional parts needed to be incorporated. BTW: using cobweb threads is a brilliant idea, because they are remarkably strong, have ant-bacterial and anesthetic properties. One day she decided to decorate the outside nest with itty Manzanita bark chips. Mama Hum definitely knew what she was looking for! She examined the tree from every angle, scrutinizing the bark for flake harvesting, hold a selected piece in her beak, fly backwards for a second and drop it if it didn’t measure up to her standards. After some time the right bark was added to the outside that gained my salut for her exquisite choices and placement. Mama Hum’s nest has changed my home life style quiet a bit. Because I love her presence and the trust she gifts me by building her nest so close by I figure I owe her my new daily adjustments. After all my day starts with sharing my morning coffee with a beautiful bird calmly eyeing me. In exchange I want to offer her a safe breeding time.
Now I stopped acting like a paparazzo, respecting her dislike for being a bird model. I keep the kitchen noise and lights down, visitors are encouraged to speak with low voices in the kitchen, causing my 16 year old grandson to roll his eyes…which triggers my lecture that I owe the birds I love these small life modifications. Especially since I know that 11 bird species were declared extinct in fall of 2021 ~ the largest extinction batch ever announced by the U.S. government. This is on top of the news that the Santa Cruz Christmas Bird Count data shows that we are down 20 species from the late 1990 to the last 5 counts and birders are reporting less birds at their feeders. So I happily make my ‘sound’ to announce my presence when I approach her nest, figuring that she makes sounds to let me know what she is up to. It seems to work, because now she calmly stays on her nest, supervising my garden work.
It’s a fact: I enjoy including nature care into my daily life and try to match Nature’s attempts to survive with our daily presence. So I leave undergrowth, leaves, small wood piles in my garden as lizards, snakes, frog and Butterfly caterpillar habitat. Oh…& one more little habit: I don’t prune bushes, trees during the February 1 through September 1 bird breeding season unless I am 200% sure there are no active nests in the vicinity.
Thanks for letting me share my Mama Hum story with you and next time I’ll take you back to the river, until then ~ chirpy jane