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Video: A young hummingbird from hatchling to fledgling

A Broad-tailed Hummingbird feeds a chick. Photo by Richard Seeley

Several years ago, a friend showed me the location of a hummingbird nest on a tree branch near a popular trail in Dillon, Colorado, about 10 miles from my home. On a number of occasions over the years I would look for the nest to see if there was any activity. The nest was about six feet off the ground, making it very difficult to see into the interior and even more difficult to photograph. I never did see any activity, and the last time that I looked, I was not even able to locate the nest. I assumed that it was abandoned and fell out of the tree.

This past summer, I searched up and down the trail in frustration trying to locate the nest. In early August, a Broad-tailed Hummingbird was flitting about and started buzzing me. I watched carefully as the hummer hovered and slowly descended to a branch right in front of me and landed on this stub. To my surprise, it was not a stub but a nest. This nest was only five feet off the ground and with a clear line of sight from the trail. The hummer was sitting on the nest. There had to be either eggs or babies in the nest. Finally, my lucky day.

When the hummer flew off, I could see that there was one baby hummingbird in the nest. Probably just a few days old. The period of time from hatchling to fledgling is about 21 days. Once they fledge, they are ready to fly and will soon migrate south. They fly solo, on their own in just a few days after fledging. This is just amazing to me.

With my Sony A7R3 camera and Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM lens mounted on a tripod, with a wireless remote trigger, I watched and photographed the hummingbird nest from August 5 to August 20, 2018, until after the chick fledged. From a series of video clips and images, I have created this one-minute movie. Enjoy!

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Richard Seeley

Richard Seeley

Richard Seeley is a wildlife photographer who lives in Silverthorne, Colorado.  He loves to travel in search of wildlife and scenic photographic opportunities.

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