What Are The Odds? - Popa's Kitchen Blog at Allrecipes.com - 308094

Popa's Kitchen

What Are The Odds? 
Aug. 6, 2013 10:25 am 
Updated: Aug. 14, 2013 12:33 pm

What are the odds of a hummingbird nesting on a hummingbird ornament? Sounds strange but it's true.

A few weeks back my wife noticed that a hummingbird had perched a few times on our ornament on the patio just outside the kitchen window. Not thinking much of it I just ignored it as we have several hummingbirds that visit the back yard.

One day as I sat on my back patio watching the "hummingbird wars" and their constant bickering over the feeders I noticed that this little girl started to build a nest.

Mind you, this ornament is only 8 feet from where I sit in the morning to drink my coffee or have a cold one in the evening. You would think I would bother her but no and to my delight she just kept on building. At first I thought I should move but I decided to keep my routine instead of staying away until she was finished. She just kept on and never gave me a second thought.

After observing this praiseworthy act I decide to do a little research and found out that she originally perched on it to check for stability. This ornament hangs from a motor to turn it, which I rarely use. The primary use of the motor is for stability of the ornament and it won't be turned on while she is there. If I had not attached it to the motor I seriously doubt she would have nested there. I have hung it without the motor but with the wind here it sometimes just flaps it around like a flag.

While watching her build her nest I noticed that she would go to a spider web that was running from my retaining wall to the grass and pecking at it. I thought what a great way to entice the spider out for a quick morsel. Boy was I wrong! She uses the spider web for building the nest.

After watching her build the nest and when I though it was completed I decided I was going to take a mirror and see if there were eggs in the nest. Mirror in hand with the wife behind the camera this is what we saw.

Very grainy but nevertheless eggs about the size of a Jelly Belly.

I'm simply amazed that she decided to nest there and go on about her business without me bothering her with my daily routine and weekly yard work.

With a little research I found out that the females build the nest on their own. No males allowed for fear that their bright colors may attract predators. 

I only have two hummingbird feeder in my back yard mixed with four parts water and one part sugar, heated to dissolve the sugar and cooled. The feeders are red to attract the hummingbirds. I don't use red food coloring. There is a possibility that it can cause kidney damage to the small birds. One is in close proximity of her and one further down in the yard. The feeder farthest away from her is free game but the one closest to her is fiercely defended.


Her favorite plant for nectar and where she perches to keep a close eye on her nest and feeder. (Commonly know as a red yucca).

She's quite the little poser.

What I do know is that hummingbirds are masters of camouflage, well maybe not this one but she did a pretty good job. It is extremely hard to find a hummingbird's nest even when you know they are there.  So with camera in hand we went to our daughters house where she has two nests on her patio that is covered with wisteria. Our grands have pointed them out to us before but for the likes of me I couldn't find them again. With the help of my granddaughter I found them again.

Inside this nest is a baby hummingbird and with the help of my grandson I got this mirror photo.

Another tidbit I learned: "Toilet training of baby hummingbirds comes built in. (A definite benefit of being a hummingbird mom.) The baby hummingbirds will do everything they can to dispose of waste over the side of the nest".

This one kind of looks like a mouse but it's really a hummingbirds nest. 

Koriekiss was kind enough to send me this photo of the hummingbirds at her mother's home. We had an impromptu So. Cal gathering there and I'm so sorry that I didn't take my camera. Never have I seen so many hummingbirds in one place. They were swarming like bees on a hive at the several feeders there. Usually the most birds I've seen on my feeder is two. Great photo Koriekiss.

I have also noticed that the hotter the weather gets the higher on the nest she sits (assuming to keep the nest cooler) and has that look of panting.

Unfortunately when the weather gets above 96 degrees for several days the eggs will cook as these did. Nature has it's ways. The good news is that she will return if the nest is not destroyed by the winter weather. I feel that it's location is pretty safe and I will keep a watchful eye on it.

For a wealth of information on hummingbirds here is a great site. World of Hummingbirds.

Aug. 6, 2013 10:42 am
Very fun to have witnessed, b.d. Sorry to hear they didn't hatch. Those nests are a miracle themselves!
Aug. 6, 2013 10:42 am
Great post and very informative! I have actually never seen the hummingbirds do anything buy fly and eat and I have never seen a nest! Way cool! I will have to look for some of those next time I am at my moms. Thanks for sharing! Karen
Aug. 6, 2013 10:45 am
Maggi - I was sure joy.
Aug. 6, 2013 10:47 am
Koriekiss - Thank you for the photo. The nest are hard to find even when you know one is there. In this case, plain sight.
Aug. 6, 2013 10:56 am
Great post! Great pics! I'm sorry to hear that the eggs "cook" - I'm in El Paso & get over 96*, too...My birds usually only let one at a time feed - so mean to each other! And there's a wasp that will chase them away. They don't even try to fight him!
Aug. 6, 2013 11:03 am
Great blog! Weren't those hummingbirds at Koriekiss' place amazing? I think she said she had to fill the many feeders twice a day! I am sorry that your gals eggs didn't hatch. How long did it take for her to give up and leave the nest? Also, did she eventually toss the eggs out of the nest or leave them there? I know, so many questions. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Aug. 6, 2013 11:06 am
Neat! I think they are such cute little creatures!
Aug. 6, 2013 11:07 am
Brian: Thanks for the education. You never know what you're going to learn on AllRecipes.
Aug. 6, 2013 11:13 am
scootersandi - I have noticed that they want no part of a wasp not even a second thought, they just leave.
Aug. 6, 2013 11:14 am
Wow....so envious, Brian! And Koriekiss. I saw only one hummingbird this year. A female. Even though I've planted loads of red flowers, they just don't seem to be attracted to Delaware. Terrific pictures, too.
Aug. 6, 2013 11:20 am
Baking Nana - Yes those hummingbirds at Koriekiss' were absolutely awesome. She hung in there for quite awhile. I would guess maybe 2 weeks after they would have hatched before she finally left. After she left I dumped the eggs. I really thought that the nest would be delicate but boy was I wrong. It is sturdy!
Aug. 6, 2013 11:24 am
Wonderful read and photos, thank you. Hummingbirds are great to watch, you are right there. We live in the country and have 6 feeders out, 4 in back,2 in front. I love watching them, we fill the feeders 2-3 times a day, except when they are nesting. The babies came about 1 week ago, the feeders now are full and more birds hovering above waiting their turn. They came late this year and we were worried they were not coming with the crazy weather we have been having. Thanks for posting this.
Aug. 6, 2013 11:28 am
*~Lissa~* - They are awesome, it's so relaxing just watching them.
Aug. 6, 2013 11:30 am
bikerfamily - lol. Maybe I should have linked a recipe for Hummingbird Cake. Thanks for looking in.
Aug. 6, 2013 11:31 am
I don't think we have hummingbirds here, which is too bad because they are fascinating to watch. The thing I miss most from my house was sitting on the patio watching the birds, squirrels, rabbits and horses across the street. Thank you for sharing this little treasure.
Aug. 6, 2013 11:32 am
Judy in Delaware - Maybe you should hang a feeder. That will attract them. Sorry to hear a lack of hummers.
Aug. 6, 2013 11:35 am
manella - I'm really thinking of hanging a couple of more feeders. I love it when they swarm the feeders waiting for a turn.
Aug. 6, 2013 11:38 am
BigShotsMom - I would miss all of that too. The hummingbirds were rare here too until I hung the feeders a couple of years ago.
Aug. 6, 2013 12:08 pm
Very cool blog post Brian! They are such beautiful birds. I learned a lot about them from your blog - thank you!
Aug. 6, 2013 12:20 pm
KIMSCOOKINGNOW - Thank you Kim. I learned a lot after she nested there.
Aug. 6, 2013 2:19 pm
Smiled the whole time I was reading! Love those little critters. Thanks, B.D.!
Aug. 6, 2013 3:07 pm
Very sweet! Love the photos, too! We gave up on having a feeder because wasps gathered all the time and kept the hummers away. So I have a lot of them around my house--wood and glass!
Aug. 6, 2013 4:00 pm
Bibi - Thank you. They are so fun to watch.
Aug. 6, 2013 4:04 pm
Marianne - Thanks for looking in. I've only see a couple of wasps. It's my understanding that wasps like a water source near their nests. The only pool near me is a couple of doors down. I do keep an eye out for wasp nests and make quick work of it when I find one. So far no problems.
Aug. 6, 2013 4:07 pm
still emeralds! - They are fun to watch. I could spend hours on my patio watching them around the feeders.
Aug. 6, 2013 4:18 pm
Love your blog! I am a bird lover and so want hummingbirds to come visit my yards. I've done everything you're supposed to do to attract them, but they don't come. How very awesome that you got to watch Mrs. Hummingbird build her nest. Thank you so much for sharing those magnificent photos of the little wonders of the Flying world. I really enjoyed it!
Aug. 6, 2013 4:30 pm
Candice - Thank you. It was quite an experience to watch this. I was totally shocked that she decided to nest there. I only hope that she will be back.
Aug. 6, 2013 4:48 pm
still emeralds! - That's great. Send away. I still think it's such an oddity that she nested there.
Aug. 6, 2013 5:25 pm
I love this! I'm lucky, a lot of my friends tell me they can't attract them, but I have them. It's been so fun to watch their pattern. The scouts show up and then seem to leave for a bit, then we start seeing several of them but only on our flowers. It's been fun to see the early blooming flowers that they seem to hit. They use the feeders once the flowers start dieing out. Then when it's really hot they start fighting at the feeder like crazy. I'd love, love, love to find their nest. We can see them flying around it up high in a tree. This was such a fun blog to read! Great info! Oh, and I have never boiled my sugar water.
Aug. 6, 2013 6:56 pm
normally around here we don't see nice looking birds, but this year I have been feeding the squirrels, (giving them in the shell peanuts, I think squirrels are so cute) and birds. some nice looking birds have shown up to feed. I am not sure what they are but some red ones and blue ones.
Aug. 6, 2013 7:20 pm
SD - I leave my feeders out year round. I do know that most are migratory but a lot stick around for the winter even when it snows. I guess I shouldn't have said boil. I just warm up the sugar and water enough to dissolve the sugar to avoid a sugary mess at the bottom of the feeder.
Aug. 6, 2013 7:21 pm
KingSparta - Yep, feed them and they will come.
Aug. 6, 2013 9:39 pm
Oh, wow! Thank you for sharing!!!!!!
Aug. 7, 2013 6:11 am
I love watching the birds in my backyard. I was thrilled this year to have a wren build her nest in the backyard, just love to hear them sing! I have a trumpet vine for my hummers plus a wide assortment flowers. I have never seen a nest, now I know what to look for thanks for the great blog!
Aug. 7, 2013 7:07 am
What a great blog. Beautiful pictures you were able to capture. Would make a good book, especially for the young ones. Our library has a section of just such stories/pics and the kids love them. Enjoyed reading it and sent the site on to friends.
Aug. 7, 2013 7:18 am
Good Morning, BD Weld. Wonderful photos and a great informative blog. I am amazed that the hummingbird chose the hummingbird ornament to make her nest.
Aug. 7, 2013 7:28 am
Thanks for the pics, I love the hummers. I set out a feeder every spring and maintain some of their favourite perennials. We have enjoyed the babies on the yard, and I have spotted the nests on occasion, but this was way better. I never caught a glimpse of the eggs, after I noticed the nest, I figured I should leave the mama with some privacy. Great info!
Aug. 7, 2013 7:44 am
gammaray (= - Can you imagine the photos I could have gotten at Koriekiss'. I still kick myself for not taking my camera.
Aug. 7, 2013 7:46 am
We set out feeders for the hummers, too. We keep it over a bed of Coral Bells so they can have whatever they want. This time of year the hummers are confronted at the feeder by Yellow Jacket Wasps and we see many stare-offs with the wasp being the winner all of the time. The hummers will just go to the Coral Bells and eat there. More nutrition there, anyway, so we don't begrudge the wasps.
Aug. 7, 2013 7:47 am
Cat Hill-Want2B Gardening - Thank you. Those hummer nests are hard to find even when you know they are there.
Aug. 7, 2013 7:50 am
sweet cook - Thank you. This first started out with just a photo of her on the ornament when I realized the kids had hummers too, so I thought I would do a blog.
Aug. 7, 2013 7:52 am
Lela - Good morning. Thank you. I was in complete awe when she decided to build there. I feel lucky.
Aug. 7, 2013 7:53 am
Do you have the pleasure of year around hummers?
Aug. 7, 2013 7:55 am
redneck gramma - Thank you. Only one time while checking the eggs did she give me the hint that enough is enough.
Aug. 7, 2013 7:58 am
Mike Harvey - Thanks for looking in. I've only seen a couple of wasps but the hummers do avoid them. Yes, we do get the hummers year round. I make sure the feeders are full during the winter.
Aug. 7, 2013 11:13 am
I really appreciate the time and effort you put in this little story. Thank you!
Aug. 7, 2013 2:27 pm
Amy - Thank you. The time and effort was nothing compared to the fun I had watching this take place.
Aug. 7, 2013 9:55 pm
So beautiful, thanks for sharing. Im not a dog or cat person, but I love birds and trees.
Aug. 7, 2013 10:05 pm
Judy in DE. I'm in DE as well, mostly in N wilm., but when I'm at the beach I have seen them in my yard. They are fast and I think nesting in some of the trees behind me. Maybe I'll get a feeder for them.
Aug. 8, 2013 4:55 am
Awesome BD - I plan on showing your blog to my hummingbird loving daughters as soon as they get back from camp.
Aug. 8, 2013 6:53 am
I enjoyed your blog very much. Wonderful pictures! Thank you for posting.
Aug. 8, 2013 7:21 am
Great blog! We love to watch the hummingbirds, and I'm envious of your nest. Every flower I've planted in my yard was with the sole purpose of attracting hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies, and I, too, have a feeder. I make my nectar just a touch richer with about a 3-1 or 3.5-1 ratio of water to sugar. They seem to really like it, and I think the same ones come back year after year, because the female seems to be comfortable with us in close proximity. My parents live in NE Mississippi, and they always have lots of hummingbirds. We usually have only a few, but we are happy to have them. They built a next one year in my parents' green beans. That was fun to watch! Great pics you posted, too!
Aug. 8, 2013 7:23 am
jrt - Thank you. You won't be sorry if you put a feeder up. They are so fun to watch.
Aug. 8, 2013 7:26 am
Doug Matthews - Thanks Doug. I hope the girls enjoy this. Funny how these little birds can bring joy to us.
Aug. 8, 2013 7:28 am
Tammy Lynn - Thank you. Some of the photos were difficult to take such as the one of her nest on the ornament. The light and dark areas.
Aug. 8, 2013 7:33 am
wisweetp - I too have tried a richer formula but I end up with a syrupy mess in the bottom of the feed when it's time to refill. If it works for you great. I wish I could plant more flowers for them but the summer heat in the high desert here play havoc with them. I'm fortunate that they love the red yuccas. How awesome a nest in the green beans. At times those nests can be really difficult to find.
Aug. 8, 2013 10:06 am
So beautiful!! Thank you for sharing.
Aug. 8, 2013 10:58 am
Cheoah - Thank you for looking in.
Aug. 8, 2013 2:09 pm
WOW Brian! This is an award winning blog in my book! I shared it with Hubby. It is so interesting. I have hummingbirds but have yet to see a nest. I'll have to start looking closer. Occasionally they will fly into the spray when I'm watering the garden. The Cape May Bird Observatory is only a short distance behind our property so that is a plus for getting to see a wide variety of birds. We really enjoyed reading your blog! Thanks for sharing!
Aug. 8, 2013 2:53 pm
great photos! and great info on the hummingbirds! thx for a terrific story.
Aug. 8, 2013 2:57 pm
SHORECOOK - Aw shucks, you are too kind. Thank you. I found that you could be looking at a nest and not know it. They are such experts at camouflage.
Aug. 8, 2013 2:57 pm
gderr - It was a fun blog to do. Thank you.
Aug. 8, 2013 6:39 pm
Oh Brian, Birds eye view of nature at her Best huh? I remember your first blog of your new found friend, so sweet!! Sorry to hear bout the new little ones:((( Take care. Thanks for the up date!
Aug. 8, 2013 6:55 pm
You are so fortunate to witness and be apart of this amazing event! How beautiful and memorable this will be be. Excellent blog writing and sharing this with us! Thank you.
Aug. 9, 2013 10:55 am
Patty Cakes - Birds eye view at it's best is so true. Thanks for looking in.
Aug. 9, 2013 10:57 am
Linda (LMT)- Thank you. I was quite shocked when this event began to unfold.
Aug. 12, 2013 4:16 am
After reading your post and seeing the beautiful pictures, I think I was more alert to watching for hummingbirds in my own yard (MA). Saturday, sitting at the kitchen table with friends, one said, "Look, a hummingbird at your sunflowers." No nectar there, so I think it was just attracted by the bright color, but it did go from there a short distance to my wisteria. I had caught glimpses out of the corner of my eye before of "something" flitting around out there, but before I read your post, was thinking it was a really large insect! Question: how do you keep the black ants out of your syrup feeders ? I've tried putting one up years ago, but always ended up with no sightings, just ants in it.
Aug. 12, 2013 6:35 am
sweet cook - Thank you. For the ants I would try Vaseline on the hook and whatever you hook it to.
Aug. 12, 2013 6:51 am
Thanks. It was hung by a plastic coated clothesline, slung over a tree branch. Vaseline sounds like it would do the trick. Maybe since I know they're around again, will give it another try, finding some way to set it up in the midst of the other flowers that already seem to attract them.
Aug. 12, 2013 7:04 am
sweet cook - Great! Just slather that Vaseline around the clothesline and you'll be back in business.
Aug. 12, 2013 11:03 pm
Great pics and story Brian and I got to see them for myself.
Aug. 13, 2013 12:20 pm
This really is a fascinating blog, learned a lot. So do they nest only once a year, in the summer? I guess not or the eggs always would fry and you'd never have any new hummers. Hope your grands are following this, great learning experience for them.
Aug. 14, 2013 6:25 am
Loveme - Thank you. Hopefully she will be back next year so you can see her again.
Aug. 14, 2013 6:26 am
campergramma - Thank you for looking in.
Aug. 14, 2013 6:29 am
lutzflcat - Thank you. I believe once a year in the early summer. 96 degrees is optimal but we had a week of triple digits. Not good.
Aug. 14, 2013 8:27 am
I too like your blog very much BD. I am curious about why this blog isn't on the top 5 though. I obviously am ignorant of the protocol.
Aug. 14, 2013 12:33 pm
Raedwulf - Thank you. I'm not sure about the "Most popular blogs" thing. It seems to be wonky.
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Graduated from the Culinary Institute of Burn and Learn. If DW and I were to take our daughter, son-in-law and our grand children out to dinner we would have to ask, "table for 10". Therefore, cooking at home has a high priority.
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