Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Taking Flight - Canivet's Emerald Babies Leave the Nest

Esmerelda coming in for a feeding.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Dave took hundreds of photos while here (no exaggeration!) and a great many of them were of our hummingbirds. The babies were just beginning to stretch their wings and flutter a bit. Esmerelda was still doing frequent feedings. Lots of photo ops. Dave has a much better camera than I and also had the advantage of having a tripod and remote switch, so he could set it all up then move away to avoid upsetting Esmerelda and start shooting whenever there was action.

She really gets that beak in deep and then uses the jackhammer technique of food delivery.

Esmerelda loved sitting in the Pride of Barbados bush by the edge of the deck where she could keep a sharp eye out on the babies. She seemed to become even more protective as the babies grew more active and started testing their wings. Or maybe she just didn't trust Dave and I and our cameras.

Here is the best photo of one of the babies. This is Caribbean, the last one to leave the nest. Chrissy left very early one morning before the light was good enough to take photos. Chrissy was the strongest of the babies, the one usually on top and the most active. She left the nest about 36 hours before Caribbean and she never returned. As far as we know, that was her maiden voyage, and she looked like an old pro as she flew away. Caribbean, was certainly not that brave nor that strong and needed a great deal of coaxing and encouragement from mama, flying up onto our roof on the first attempt. Caribbean also never returned to the nest. Esmerelda checked the nest often for the first day or so after the last baby left and then she abandoned us as well.

We hung up the hummingbird feeder and waited. Soon we began seeing different hummers, but not Esmerelda or the babies. Finally, I heard Esmerelda's very familiar tittering and saw her at the feeder. This afternoon, I saw one of the babies for the first time, still much smaller than the adults and getting more colorful. Maybe one of them is a male. I might be able to get a photo sometime....

Roatan 2009 - Hummingbirds - All photos by Dave Gartner.


  1. dave's photos are remarkable!!!!
    i am glad to hear that the babies are coming to the feeder. you were such great hosts to their nests..