nestling

All posts tagged nestling

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator

On Saturday, June 18, our class from the Naturalist Certification Series visited Coverdale Farm Preserve for a bird walk.  Lots of great birds gave us plenty to appreciate, from Orchard Orioles to Indigo Buntings to Yellow Warblers. 

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird nestling sits high in the nest, in the final day before fledgling. This is the last photograph of this bird in the nest. Image by Derek Stoner, June 18, 2011.

But the star of the show was the baby Ruby-throated Hummingbird, sitting in the nest where for the past three weeks he (or she?) has grown up on a branch of a Sycamore tree.  Our group of curious onlookers gawked at the hummingbird 20 feet above our heads.  With beak held apart, it appeared that the hummingbird was panting to keep cool in the late morning heat.   

Everyone enjoyed the thrill of seeing the “baby” in its nest, and we had to look carefully to realize that this was indeed the youngster and not one of the adults sitting on the nest.  The slightly shorter beak and speckly plumage on throat convinced us of its age– a mere 19 or 20 days!

I told our group that the hummingbird would likely fly away and leave the nest for good within a day or two.  Sure enough, this morning(June 20) when I went to check one final time, the nest was empty.  Through monitoring the nest over the course of five weeks and a total of five visits, I’d grown accustomed to excitement of seeing something alive within the nest.  I feel honored to be able to document such an interesting sequence of events in the development of a hummingbird, from egg to fledging stage.  I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did!