Anna’s Hummingbird

On our walk yesterday, Barley and I encountered a birder in the neighborhood. We could tell because of the spotting scope, so we decided to strike up a conversation using the scope as kindling. It turns out that he, and a number of people in my neighborhood are birders, but he’s got the great fortune of having a hummingbird nest in his front yard. He offered us a look, and enlightened us to the family.

The birds were Anna’s hummingbirds and the nest was barely visible in the spotting scope and virtually invisible to the naked eye despite being only 20 feet from it. We were also informed that Anna’s have been moving northward in the last decade and now winter in the Portland area, which I’d noticed from the pair at Gabriel park near the off leash area and the chirping on our morning walks. I think that my being able to describe what they sounded like was enough to convince my neighbor I wasn’t just some yokel so he regaled me some more.

The nest itself, tiny and indistinguisible from the tree it was hanging in, was made of lichen and cotton that the homeowner had left out near the feeders he kept stocked over the winter. Even the bleeched white fiber didn’t stand out, and the nest itself wasn’t much bigger than the pine cones it was built against. Yet the tiny little beaks sticking out of it were plain to see when the mother came back to feed them god knows what. It was quite amazing and I must get a feeder out soon.