By Ann Edwards
Hummingbirds have been nesting on my side porch for the last five years. They’ve chosen a wind chime with a hummingbird theme (a plaster hummingbird hangs on top of the chimes) to raise their family.
Two babies hatched about two weeks ago. I’ve been leaving my security screen open so I can keep an eye on the comings and goings of my little family. Four days ago I found the wind had broken the wire holding the wind chime, and my babies were out of their nest and on the concrete floor of my porch.
I didn’t know what to do, so I called the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for advice. Surprise, surprise! I had to just leave a message.
Next I went online for advice and fortunately found a website that told me mama hummingbirds don’t have a great sense of smell, so I could pick up her brood and she wouldn’t reject them.
The nest wasn’t in good shape, so I taped it together, taped the chimes back up, and taped the nest back onto the wind chimes. I put the babies back in their (not very attractively) repaired nest.
I told the docent what I had done and asked her what I should do next. She said it sounded critical and I should get them help. I asked if I could bring them to the Museum, but she said no, and referred me to a volunteer at the Northwest Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
A wonderful woman there said to cut a single egg holder out of an egg carton and tape it (at this point I’m getting better at my taping) to the same wire that the old nest was attached to, and to add as much of the nest material to the egg holder as I could.
Job done, I transferred my babies to their new home. Next, she told me to watch the new nest to see if Mom would return. I found out that Mama usually returns to the nest four to six times an hour to feed her brood, so if she doesn’t come back within an hour, the situation becomes critical for her babies.
I sat and watched. Mom came twice to look, but didn’t stay. The third time was the charm! Mom returned to her new nest (I told you I was getting better at my taping), and fed her babies.
One of the babies had her flying lesson today, and has left the nest. I’m hoping Number Two stays a few more days. It’s hard to let go…