A hummingbird sitting on a next on a wind spinner

Mrs. Hummy awaits the next generation (click on image to enlarge & zoom to see details)

Although both Anna’s and Rufous hummingbirds frequent our place, their nests have been elusive over the years. Two or three times we’ve found one on a Western redcedar bough, but otherwise, nothing. Seems these tiny birds are masters in the art of camouflage when it comes to nesting.

Until now. To our surprise, a female Rufous has built her nest on one of the metal wind spinners hanging from the eaves along the north wall of our house, allowing us a clear, almost eye-level view (keeping a respectful distance, of course).

It seems an odd location: just ten feet from our carport, the front porch and a very popular hummingbird feeder. So despite the care we’re taking not to disturb her, there’s still a fair number of comings and goings – especially when multiple male hummers are speeding about, jostling noisily for control of the feeder. It’s as if Mrs. Hummy was afraid of being bored, so chose the busiest spot she could find.

But it has some advantages. The house and eaves offer shelter for the future nestlings, protecting them from sun, rain and wind, and the spinner’s movements are gentle in this protected spot. She can keep an eye on the nectar feeder and get to it easily when those pesky males aren’t around. And I expect that fresh insects – her favorite food – are regularly caught in the copious spider webs on the spinner, so a nutritious bite is just a quick hover away.

Or maybe it’s something else entirely. Perhaps she was drawn by the big metal hummingbird at the centre of the wind spinner: a perfect talisman to protect her from harm and get the new generation off to a healthy, successful start in life.

Hummingbird on nest, built on wind spinner with metal hummingbird

About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer focused on nature and nautical on the BC coast

9 responses »

  1. The Hinoeuma says:

    Oh, how cute! We have ruby-throats around here but, I’ve never seen a nest. We also have Carolina Wrens…that nest in anything they can find. Right now, I’m being entertained with a pair that have nested in a hanging washtub at our side door.

  2. dianeschuller.com says:

    Wow, I never would have thought a hummingbird would nest out in the open like that. You’ve wondered some of the same things I have. How fortunate to be able to observe her through the nesting period.

    • The update is that she is hardly ever at the nest anymore. We worried that she had abandoned it entirely, but my husband (who’s tall enough to see into the nest) has confirmed there is a live chick (single one) inside, appearing healthy. So she must be feeding it – just not often enough for me to be able to catch her in the act!

  3. jkaybay says:

    That’s quite incredible! And quite the honor too!

  4. Hummingbirds are so gorgeous! We don’t have them in Europe so this is a delight to see!

  5. pattilee says:

    Pretty precious.

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