How it started
It started in June of 2009. I saw a hummingbird feeding her chick while sitting on a small branch in our yard. I grabbed my camera and quickly pulled it out and took a few hurried photos. Then the hummingbirds flew away and the moment was over. My photos didn’t turn out very well and I felt I may have missed he opportunity of a lifetime, to get a photo of a mother hummingbird feeding her chick! I resolved to look for the birds again and I was rewarded. There was the chick sitting on another branch and soon the mother came by. I got a nice series of photos and I was hooked. I didn’t see them much for the next few weeks until, one day, as I sat on a garden chair under the pear tree, a hummingbird buzzed me. It circled and chirped and retreated to a high branch where it continued voicing it’s opinion about my presence.
A few days later, we saw it launch from it’s nest and pinpointed the location.
I was amazed that the nest was barely four feet from where I sat. Upon inspection, there were two chicks in the nest. I grabbed my video camera and began filming. The chicks were very small, perhaps I week old.
I began filming with a Mini DV video camera to chronicle their evolution. We named the chicks, Zippity and Doodaa and I diligently filmed them and expected them to fly happily into the treetops. Sadly, they never made it to fledge as they were killed by marauding starlings. Devastated, I set up the Zippity and Doodaa memorial hummingbird feeder station. Until then, I had resisted putting up a sugar water feeder thinking it would be better to let Sweetie Bird feed her chicks natural foods which she gathered. It quickly became her favourite spot and Sweetie Bird stayed in our yard. I purchased a high definition Sony video camera in case I ever got the opportunity to film hummingbird chicks again. Then, in January 2010, we saw her making another nest. She laid eggs at the end of January. We didn’t expect the eggs to hatch, but I set up my camera and began filming. The eggs did hatch and the HD video is astounding.
As her chicks were in their last days of the nest, almost ready to fly, we were astounded by what happened next; she began building another nest in our yard! She spent March sitting on a nest right outside our kitchen window, then in end of April, she placed another nest directly over our walkway and then another in June only 15 feet away.
The images I was able to capture are truly remarkable. The growth of four generations of hummingbird chicks from egg to flight on High Definition video gives you the feeling that you are right there with them, and you tend to forget just how small they really are. It is almost macro photography. For comparison, the eggs are the size of coffee beans. When hatched, they are the length of two coffee beans, at one week they look like hairy raisins but somehow, by day 21 they are proper little birds and begin to fly. To pull a raison out of an egg and have it fly in three weeks is an impressive trick which beats any Vegas Illusionist. And even after seeing it a number of times, I still have no idea how it happens.
What to expect from this site
I have many hours of hummingbird videos to share. I will be showing the entire cycle, from their mating dance in the sky, to the nest building, the eggs being incubated, the chicks being fed and eventually flying. Being fed by their mother in the trees and even their territorial fights. I believe I have captured many rare moments of hummingbird behaviour and gained insights which only the most dedicated researchers have seen. I have four complete generations of chicks from egg to flight and expect more next year. I will be following Sweetie Bird and other hummingbirds in our area and sharing all this with you. I have put up the video of Zippity and Doodaa because it is so wonderful even if it is a sad reminder of natures harsh realities. The other generations do not suffer any tragedies so you can rest assured they remain safe.
I didn’t start out to make a hummingbird site, but almost everyday of every generation has been filmed, with the exception of the fourth generation when I captured everyday.
You can download all the videos and JPGs for your own use as described in the “What you can do with” section.
I will also share secrets to attract hummingbirds, how to make your garden hummingbird friendly, how to protect the nests and chicks, what feeders are best and a plethora of things you can do to attract and enjoy the hummingbirds.
Why I ask for money when other sites are free.
By buying a membership, you enable me to continue bringing you the best hummingbird videos on the web. It takes a lot of time and effort to do this and I need some money to keep it going. These videos represent hundreds of hours of concentrated effort and I have learned a lot about the birds which I will be sharing with you as the website develops.
What you can do with the downloaded videos and images.
When you join, you will be able to download high definition videos to play on your computer, turn into dvds or play on digital photoframes. You can use the JPGs as screensavers, wallpapers, content for digital photoframes or print them off display them in your house. You can do anything with them you want except publish them under your name or use them for resale, unless you make a deal with me.