BASICS: "Hummingbirds.....where is the person, I ask, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and turn his mind with reverence..." (J. J. Audubon).
This is a blog about my summer life at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, at my winter garden, Calypso, in the Bahamas, and aspects of life in general.
This private sanctuary is now permanently closed to the general public, as a result of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. Only my friends and personal guests may visit (

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Empty Nest Syndrome

Yesterday we got an inch of rain and I was not able to look at the nest; I filmed this from inside:

This morning, dry and sunny, I found the nest to be empty. I'm pretty sure that the two chicks fledged yesterday, or possibly very early this morning. The nest did look a bit squished but as I wrote in my last post, it was already somewhat flattened the day before the rain.
Very likely the 2 chicks, still only able to fly very short distances, are hanging out somewhere in the immense (100 feet wide) of their densely-foliaged tropical almond tree. I did spot what appeared to be a young hummer high up in the canopy,at the end of a bare twig, but he was gone by the time I came back with my camera.
In the meantime here's a vid from last summer in Baiting Hollow, showing a male hummer at a feeder with Long Island Sound in the background.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Thumbelina's chicks almost ready to fledge

Everything seems to have happened very fast though it's already 5 weeks since I first spotted the nest. The chicks are now both poking their heads well out of the nest and looking around alertly. The nest itself has expanded in diameter and flattened somewhat. Tomorrow rain and wind is predicted but I think they will in any case soon fledge. Here are a couple of clip from this morning.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Hibiscus Blossoms; Quogue Stabbing; will Trump stop the carnage?

Here at Calypso pink hibiscus are flowering:

Thumbelina continues her feeding/stabbing of her rapidly growing chicks. This aggressive style of feeding is characteristic of all hummingbirds - here's the same behavior at the ruby-throat nest in Quogue I filmed during the summer.  

Perhaps this is the "carnage" Trump will stop? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

Thumbelina's chicks are growing fast

Thumbelina has been very busy ferrying food (mostly half-digested insects) to her 2 chicks, which are now sufficiently big that their beaks poke well above the nest when she is feeding them (though it sometimes seems as if she's stabbing them!). It's still fairly windy so the nest sometimes swings out of view.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Thumbelina's eggs have hatched; North Fork Rufouses faring well

Thumbelina's nest has been whipping around in a strong north wind for several days and I've been unable to film, or even properly observe, her nest. However clearly she's been hanging in for dear life and has kept her eggs warm, because this morning I observed her feeding the chicks for the first time. You cannot see the feeding very clearly from this video, shot during a brief period of relative calm, partly because her back is to the camera, but she's clearly standing on the rim of the nest and apparently "stabbing" the nest interior with her beak - exactly the normal feeding behavior. Although it will continue windy for several days, it will shift more to the east, from which direction the nest should be more sheltered, so I should be able to put back in place my observation tower (a step-ladder) which was knocked over in the wind, and get better video. It's 2 weeks since I first observed the nest, which was essentially complete, and the youngsters have hatched right on schedule, despite the howling north wind of the last few days.

Conditions are far tougher in the North Fork yard that's currently hosting 2 rufous hummingbirds - the temperature the last 2 nights has been down to 12 degrees - but thanks to the valiant efforts of the homeowner, running 3 heated feeders, a heated roost, and a supply of freshly released fruit-flies (for needed protein) both seem to be doing fine! Here's a link to an interesting earlier account of these 2 rufouses.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

More nest videos

Although I'm calling the female Woodstar hummingbird who's nesting just outside our living room here on the Bahamian island Eleuthera "Thumbelina" (following a suggestion by Donna DeSousa), her name could equally well be Patience. That is certainly the virtue personified by an incubating mother-bird! Here are some videos from yesterday showing Thumbelina on her neat little nest, viewed from 3 different angles. They were all filmed at about 10.30, when rays of sunshine happen to hit the nest despite the thick surrounding foliage. The first video shows the view from the step ladder I've positioned about 8 feet from the nest, so I can get a horizontal view. The camera zooms out to show the location of the nest in the tree.

The second video is also from this angle, and shows her flicking out her tongue.

Here's the same nest on the same date/time, viewed from another angle:

and finally from a third angle - 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Does Fake News Invade the Hummingbird World?

There's apparently a new Attenborough-narrated Nature series running on the UK BBC called "Planet Earth II" - a sequel to the 2006 "Planet Earth" series. I'm not sure if this new series is available on US TV. According to Morning News USA some viewers feel the new hummingbird footage is so extraordinary it might not be real but created by "CGI" - "Computer Generated Imagery". Judge for yourself: