Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Baby hummingbirds, day 2

baby hummingbirds
This was taken this morning. You can see their crops were full. The crop is like a pouch in the throat that the mama bird packs with food. So it looks like they're being fed OK. I found a website all about hummingbirds, and according to what I read, the mama bird still spends a lot of time sitting on the nest to keep these tiny, naked babies warm. This definitely goes along with what I have been observing.  In a couple of days, when they start growing some feathers, she'll start feeding them more frequently.

Mama hummers feed their babies a slurry of regurgitated insects and nectar. I didn't even realize that hummingbirds ate insects until I saw a Nature episode about hummingbirds a couple years ago on PBS. Watch a video clip from PBS that shows how hummingbirds catch insects.   Since my awareness was raised about this, I have noticed a hummingbird feeding in a cloud of gnats a time or two.

I was lucky enough to see the mama feeding the babies this evening, but I didn't get a picture of it. I'll try again tomorrow.

baby hummingbirds
Here they are this evening. The nest was glowing in the sunset, but inside it their bodies were dark, so I used digital "fill light" to see them a little better.

I should explain that this nest is up a little higher than my head. When I take pictures directly over the nest like this, I am just reaching up, holding the camera so the lens points down over them and shooting in macro mode with auto focus and hoping for the best. Right now, the babies still have their eyes closed. I don't plan on using this technique once their eyes are open, for fear it might stress them out.
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