Hummingbirds

Outside my window at Munnar there was this - a tiny nest, made of moss, dried grass and leaves.  If it had been in a tree or bush it would have been very well camoflaged.  However, the birds had made it hanging from the telephone wire.  It was in a sensible place though, as it was well under cover and did not get wet when it rained.                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

 I could not see inside the nest very well.  Occasionally I could see a beak and part of a head.  Once I thought that I could perhaps see two birds?  Soon I saw a hummingbird in the garden.  This is the father bird as he has beautiful black irridesent plumage (feathers).  Soon after, a little brown and cream bird came to feed the chick(s) so I knew that this must be the mother.

 This morning there was no movement in the nest.  Then I saw a baby bird in a tree.  I managed to get this really good photo of her.

 Here is the mother bird feeding her.

 But then I saw another chick!  Here is the father feeding her.  Yes, two female chicks.

 Here they are together.  It is now some 6 hours later and both parents are still feeding them.



Plus a much better photo of the male bird.  You can't see from the photo, just how tiny they are.  Much smaller than a wren. 

 Information on hummingbirds - A baby hummingbird is truly a wonder of nature. They begin life as the smallest eggs in the world.  Weighing approximately 0.62 grams these white non-glossy eggs are less than ½ inch long. (1cm)  Their small size is often compared to a jelly bean.  The mother hummingbird usually lays only two eggs.  

She incubates the eggs for about 2 weeks.......longer in colder climates. This is a relatively long time for a bird incubation.  When the baby hummingbird is still in its egg, they have strong neck muscles and a hook on their short bill in order to peck their way out.  Hummingbird babies are born blind and naked without feathers.  At first, the hummingbird mother will keep her babies warm by sitting on the nest.

Did you know that many chicks including hummingbirds can feel the wind from the wing of their mother as she approaches the nest.  So although, they are born blind, this is how they know to lift up their tiny heads and open their hungry mouths. The newborns cannot feed on their own. The mother inserts her beak into the throats of her babies dropping the regurgitated insects and nectar.

In about a week or so the growing chicks will be covered with fuzzy new feathers. Even so, it takes at least 9 days before they can regulate their own body heat. After about two weeks, they start to look more like small adult hummingbirds. By then, they have grown real feathers and their beaks (depending on the species) are often longer. After three weeks, the young birds are ready to leave the nest forever








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