A Story of Three Hummingbirds

On April 10th I found a hummingbird nest in my backyard. And by April 26th the two tiny hummingbird babies left the nest. That’s how hummingbirds do it. I should know. In those 16 days I became obsessed, like mothers can. I could share with you all kinds of fascinating facts about hummingbirds that I can guarantee you have never heard but even beyond learning all about these miraculous little creatures, I found true creative joy. I made it my mission to keep watch over this mama and her babies. To pay attention to their rhythms. I hear their voices. To watch their behavior. And—here’s where the creativity comes in—I staked out my spot in the yard, tripod and rented lens, so I could photograph the process.

Although I know I missed many of the moments that were very photo-worthy, I took my responsibility seriously and gave mama her space. I was very rarely able to get her at the nest. I would wait until I knew she’d gone to get food to capture the babies in the nest, using a long lens so I didn’t disturb them. I will say, the process for me was meditative, cathartic, and meaningful. It brought me so much contentment and joy and although it was only an experience that lasted 16 days I miss it.

I’m excited to share this window into the world of this little hummingbird family. Capturing these moments felt like magic and having these images feels like a gift. I don’t know why it meant so much to me, but I don’t need to question it. I’m just grateful.

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  • The story begins. 1 of 21
    The story begins.
  • In content. 2 of 21
    In content.
    The tiny nest I discovered in our magnolia tree.
  • April 10 3 of 21
    April 10
    I wasn't sure if there were eggs or chicks at first, until I saw the fuzzy white down (can you see it?).
  • The beak emerges 4 of 21
    The beak emerges
    This tiny beak was one of two that would be my visual marker through the process.
  • Beak(s) up 5 of 21
    Beak(s) up
    It's all I could see for days.
  • Mama time 6 of 21
    Mama time
    This was one of the only moments I captured mama on the nest. She wouldn't feed them until I abandoned my post.
  • Keeping watch 7 of 21
    Keeping watch
    Each morning I would walk outside and find her on a branch across the yard.
  • Revelation 8 of 21
    I finally begin to see so much more of them.
  • Side by side 9 of 21
    Side by side
    For the first week they seemed to take turns being visible. But there was no room for either one to hide anymore.
  • Getting active 10 of 21
    Getting active
    They began shifting and stretching and preening.
  • Together 11 of 21
    Each day, a different way to be near each other, with each other. It was so endearing.
  • Getting brave 12 of 21
    Getting brave
    Soon they take turns at standing at the edge.
  • Stacked up 13 of 21
    Stacked up
    And standing on each other.
  • Outgrowing the nest 14 of 21
    Outgrowing the nest
    Living quarters get tighter.
  • Mama in the morning 15 of 21
    Mama in the morning
    Getting used to meeting her each morning.
  • Morning routine 16 of 21
    Morning routine
    She was relaxed with me there. I enjoyed watch her preen.
  • In appreciation 17 of 21
    In appreciation
    Savoring the last days knowing what was coming.
  • Grown up 18 of 21
    Grown up
    And on the last morning, there was only one left on the nest, not in it. Soon after, this one disappeared.
  • Time to fly 19 of 21
    Time to fly
    The mother found the babies hidden in the trees and still fed them regularly but I could no longer see them.
  • Empty nest 20 of 21
    Empty nest
    Today I saw a few hummingbirds in the yard. I'm unsure now if any of them were mama or either of the babies. I wish I knew.
  • A bittersweet day 21 of 21
    A bittersweet day
    I am thankful for the days I witnessed such sweetness. I can only hope they visit regularly.


For the story about how Tracey and her teen got here, take a peek at their first post at Reframed.

For more about Tracey and how she elevates the everyday, visit her at traceyclark.com.

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