05.15.22: Hummingbird on nest

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird sits on her nest in Hilliard, Ohio.

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird sits on her nest in Hilliard, Ohio.

A very short walk for a nice photo

Tech specs

  • Date/time: May 12, 2022 7:37 PM   
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Lens: EF600mm f/4L IS USM +1.4x 
  • Focal length: 840mm
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Shutter: 1/1000 second
  • ISO: 1600

Many of the photographs I use as photos of the week are pulled from my files and can be years — if not decades — old.

This photograph is very recent. It was taken only days ago.

My wife and I have just returned to our summer home in Ohio from our winter in Florida. During our first full day back, my wife was doing some cleanup in the front yard when she sent me a text saying “There’s a hummingbird nest in the pear tree.”

I was in the house about 20 feet from her, not miles away. But we do most of our communicating by text, even when we are both in the house. It’s more efficient than yelling from room to room. I guess that’s the new normal.

I knew the tree she was talking about was the Bradford pear tree beside the street. It’s a very messy tree, which is why she was cleaning up under it. And it’s now considered an invasive tree species that has been banned in a number of states, so we don’t know why the decision was made a couple of decades ago to plant Bradford pear trees as the street trees in our area. But that’s another story for another day.

When I heard about the nest I immediately went out to see it. I fully expected the nest to be high in the tree with the view obstructed by limbs. Instead it was just above eye level for me and in plain view. The female Ruby-throated Hummingbird was coming and going, bringing material to cushion the inside of the nest. I don’t think the eggs have hatched because the mother wasn’t feeding babies.

I went out with my camera the following morning and grabbed a few shots of the hummingbird on the nest. I came back out that evening, when the light was better, and grabbed a few more. It only took about five minutes each time to have a series of photos with the bird in slightly different positions.

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird is about three inches long and weighs about two-tenths of an ounce. Its nest is only about two inches across and an inch deep. The eggs, when laid, are only about a half inch long and hatch in about 12 to 14 days. The babies leave the nest about three weeks later.

I’ll keep an eye on the nest in the coming weeks and try to get some photos of the mother with the babies.

When I heard about the nest I immediately went out to see it. I fully expected the nest to be high in the tree with the view obstructed by limbs. Instead it was just above eye level for me and in plain view. 

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