JCM Digital Imaging, based in Santa Clarita, California, since 1992
Presents:
Hummingbird Nest, Rearing and Photo Documentary

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In February of 2014 I happened to spot a female Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) buzzing in and out of a rose bush about 18 inches above ground level. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that she was just starting to build a nest, attached to one of the thorny branches. I was surprised at how low to the ground the nest was, and in somewhat thin foliage which didn't provide much cover. Still, it was well camouflaged and the bird's green, gray, and rust-colored plumage matched the foliage almost perfectly. I set up an HD camcorder about 15 inches from the nest so that I could see and control the camera from a distance via its LCD screen and remote.

Allen's Hummingbird Nest Camera setup and close-ups Allen's Hummingbird Nest Camera setup and close-ups Allen's Hummingbird empty nest under construction... Allen's Hummingbird empty nest under construction... Allen's Hummingbird empty nest under construction... Allen's Hummingbird empty nest under construction...

Upon returning to the nest, the bird inspected the new camera equipment, decided it wasn't a threat, and went back to work. Over the next week or so I found it fascinating to watch and film the construction process. She collected all sorts of materials, poked each bit into the nest with her beak, then stomped it into place with her feet. Probably the most interesting componant was the spider webs. One out of every few trips for nesting material she would return with spider webs stretched across her beak and face. After landing in the nest, she carefully transfered the web from her face to the outside perimeter of the nest with a wiping motion. Tranfserring the web to the nest with the web fibers still in long and stretched-out condition made for very strong and effective binding material, which were still holding the remains of the abandonned nest together even 2 years later!

About February 18th, the first egg appeared in the nest, and shortly thereafter, another one. Two eggs was all she was going to lay this time around. Roughly 20 days later, one of the eggs hatched. The other one never did, and on March 11th the mother bird tossed the broken and defective egg out of the nest. For the next few weeks, she worked tirelessly to feed her chick and keep it warm. Nights were still pretty cold, but days were warmer and she could leave for short periods to drink nectar and catch small bugs. Feedings and sitting on the young bird were pretty regular at first, but as Spring progressed and temperatures warmed, she spent more and more time away, feeding and defending her territory. The young bird grew rapidly, and before long it was spending much of its time in and out of the nest, exercising its wings in preparation for flight. The mother bird returned to the nest regularly to feed the youngster, but at some point stopped spending the night there. There was little room for the adult bird, and the youngster was nearly full-grown. On March 29th, the young bird makes its first flight away from the nest, ending-up in a nearby Willow tree, where the mother bird tracks it down and cares for it until it can fly and feed properly.

Allen's Hummingbird Nest with eggs Allens Hummingbird nest with chick and egg Allens Hummingbird feeding chick 5 Allens Hummingbird Chick in Nest Allens Hummingbird chick and nest image 3-27-2014 Allens Hummingbird chick and nest image 3-28-2014


A couple of weeks later, the mother bird had mated and laid another set of eggs, but at some point a predator managed to evade detection by both the camera and mother bird, and made off with the eggs. Apparently this loss prompted the bird to abandon this location and nest elsewhere, and thus the documentary project was over.

The following 8-hour series of videos chronicles the entire story in great detail, filmed in close-up HD. You can watch the entire show on YouTube at this link, or on the embedded YouTube player below. Individual videos can be selected from the menu icon in the player itself. Still inages from this project can also be found in the subsequent pages here. Enjoy the show!






Slow Motion Hummingbird series on YouTube (videos play in a new window)
Slow Motion Hummingbirds 9
Slow Motion Hummers 9
Slow Motion Hummers 8
Slow Motion Hummers 8
Slow Motion Hummingbirds 7
Slow Motion Hummers 7
Slow Motion Hummingbirds 6
Slow Motion Hummers 6
Slow Motion Hummingbirds 5
Slow Motion Hummers 5

Slow Motion Hummers 4
Slow Motion Hummers 4
Slow Motion Hummers 3
Slow Motion Hummers 3
Slow Motion Hummingbirds 2
Slow Motion Hummers 2
Slow Motion Hummingbirds 1
Slow Motion Hummers 1
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Other interesting videos and behaviors on YouTube (videos play in a new window)
Intimi dation: Slow Motion Hummer Fights
Intimi dation: Slow Motion Hummer Fights
Funny Hummer Landings
Funny Hummer Landings
Real Angry Birds! SlowMo Hummers
Real Angry Birds! SlowMo Hummers
Beautiful Hummer slide show 1
Beautiful Hummer slide show 1
Beautiful Hummer slide show 2
Beautiful Hummer slide show 2

Brutal Hummer Fights
Brutal Hummer Fights
Strange Cirlcing Hummer Behavior
Strange Cirlcing Hummer Behavior
Assorted Slow Motion Scenes
Assorted Slow Motion Scenes
Slow Motion Take-offs
Slow Motion Take-offs
300fps Catching and spitting out fly
300fps Catching and spitting out fly

300fps tangle in mirror
300fps tangle in mirror
600fps slow motion bird at feeder
600fps slow motion bird at feeder
Jet Hummer Sounds
Jet Hummer Sounds
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