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Nidification: the Hen sits tight for sure

Here is the Hen today, sitting tight on her tiny cup nest built on two pine cones in our backyard Aleppo Pine.  She fills the whole opening like a cork, horizontally oriented.  Usually we see hummers either air-born or perched, in vertical orientation: it’s the horizontal arrangement, with her tail sticking out behind her and her back practically parallel to the ground, that makes her so Henlike.

She sits absolutely still for long stretches of time, with only the blink of her tiny eyelid to give away her presence.

I’ve been peeking up at the Hen infrequently, so as not to stress her with “eyeball pressure”.  She seems to be on-Nid most of the day.  I’ve tried a couple of times to catch her away from the nest, looking down on the Nid-bough from an upper bedroom window, to try to see eggs, but she’s always been there, strongly suggesting there are.  (The views from above are through a screen, so efforts at pictures from there have been unsatisfactory.)

Assuming she’s incubating now, and has been for a day or two — I’ll use 16 March as an estimated laying date — she will sit on her eggs with no help from the male for about 14 -19 days.  The young will fledge around the 23rd to the 26th day.  That would mean if the nest succeeds (and my calcuations are in the ballpark) the eggs should hatch around April 1, and the young will be in the nest for about another week after that.  That puts the Hen right at the peak of Anna’s breeding phenology according to the Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas, which shows nesting records for the species in the state peak around the start of the month, with a second shorter peak near the beginning of May.

While she’s incubating, an Anna’s female will leave the eggs periodically to feed, primarily on tiny insects like gnats, but fueled with nectar from flowers or sugar water feeders.  We’re keeping our feeders well-stocked and particularly clean (thanks, E!), with the first hot weather of the year.  The garden is more than doing its part, with hummer favorites like penstemon, aloes, desert lavender and above all, chuparosa all in peak bloom.

(Digiscoped photo A. Shock)

Posted by Allison on Mar 18th 2009 07:56 pm | One Comment
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One Response to “Nidification: the Hen sits tight for sure”

  1. Maryon 11 Feb 2010 at 6:49 pm link comment

    There’s a little hummingbird that seems to live in my backyard and flies around all the time. It’s so pretty!

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