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.