It was still dark this morning when I snicked the front door open. Just a sliver, mind you–I didn’t want to startle the remaining hatchling, but after two solid days of pounding rain and intermittent winds, I worried that she might be cold and wet. But there she was: cozy as could be inside her dry little nest. How wise Walela was, to have built their cushiony home under a roof overhang!
(This set of two pictures comes from yesterday’s photo session. I didn’t get pictures of Jennifer in the nest this morning.)
Whew, what a relief! With a steaming mug of vanilla-hazelnut coffee at my elbow, I posted a blog update, in which I predicted she’d fledge sometime today.
Not an hour later, my husband called me to the door. The nest was empty! I grabbed my camera and snapped a picture. Just one, inadequate though it might be, to honor the nest that served Walela and her brood so well.
I lowered my camera to my side, and stood silent for a few minutes longer. And here’s where the magic happened, as it so often does when we’re willing to stay in the moment…
Jennifer returned to the fuchsia plant and perched herself on the slimmest of branches! She must’ve sensed Walela’s whirring approach, because with one eye focused on me, she turned her head and opened her beak.
I didn’t capture the feeding itself, but seeing as how I’ve posted so many pictures and videos, here and on Facebook, I’ll bet you can easily imagine it in your mind’s eye by now.
A small part of me is sad, of course. Who wouldn’t be, after cheering them on, for days on end? But more so, I’m celebrating. It rarely happens that both hummingbird hatchlings survive from egg to fledge, so I’m thrilled to know that Sunshine and Jennifer beat the odds.