I am happy to report that Josephine is still living in her nest, and that as of this past weekend she is the proud new mother of two little baby chicks!
It has been a truly surreal and lovely experience to have her parked outside our front door. She tends to announce her return to the nest with loud, specific chirps, and when I'm here and able to, I run over to the door to watch her feed the babies. It's absolutely unreal. A front row seat to a nature show, and something most people likely won't ever get to see. I feel so lucky to be having this experience. Not infrequently, people will walk by on the sidewalk on the other side of the bush, and they can't see her, and they can't see me behind the metal screen door because of the way it's cut (we can see out, but during the day people cannot see in), and it feels like a big, delicious secret. It also makes me think about how much we must miss, every single day, without even realizing it.
I've been reading up on hummingbirds, and the more I read the more fascinating I find them. A few facts that have caught my eye:
Hummingbirds weigh just a tenth of an ounce, and eat their body weight daily.
They live on flower nectar and small insects.
Their symbiotic relationship with flowers makes them one of nature's pollinators.
Their metabolic rate is 100 times that of an elephant (!).
Their long beaks are aided in nectar consumption by their even longer straw-like tongues.
Their hearts beat at insane rates: 1260 times a minute, or 21 times a second (!).
Their wings beat at insane rates: 50-75 times a second.
Their babies are growing at an INSANE rate. The picture on the right was taken this past Saturday; the picture on the left was taken Wednesday. Unreal.
With that in mind, here are some hummingbird videos I've been watching lately.
This one with the basics from National Geographic.
This one, with the mama feeding the babies. Not the greatest quality, but a good example of something I feel privileged to watch every day lately! It's something that I've not been able to capture from behind the screen, and I'm afraid I will scare Josie off if I open the door while she's feeding her babies.
This one has some great footage as well! Look at how she kind of picks up the babies while feeding them with her beak, and how far into their tiny bodies her beak goes to feed them.
Watch an egg hatch (!) at the beginning of this video: