Aren't they beautiful? They look so big on the screen, but in life they were so tiny: about the size of your average kidney bean.
All this intense hummingbird action filled our life with high drama! On the very first day, we watched in horror as Junior's sibling decided that "he" was ready to face the big bad world, and launched himself out of the nest. Calling it a launch is perhaps a bit generous, and he didn't make it far before crash landing into a big clump of thistles. We rushed to his rescue, and after holding him for a few minutes to make sure that he was intact, he buzzed out of Kenn's hands and up into our Mulberry tree.
Check out that stubby bill. I was shocked at how rapidly their bills grew as we watched them visit our feeders.
Once he was safely in the Mulberry, he began calling, and Mama came to the rescue, feeding him for the rest of the afternoon before he disappeared. He returned the next day to visit the our feeder, and returned every day for about two weeks, eventually joined by Junior after he too made his brave exit from the nest.
I have a banding permit, and I would have banded him, but my gear was at the Observatory, and I didn't want to hold him long enough to go get it. Hummingbird bands are, of course, very tiny, and made of incredibly light weight aluminum, pressed into sheets, and stamped with the band number. The material is so thin that we cut them out with scissors.
Here's one compared to a Great Horned Owl band.
I have had close encounters with thousands of birds at the Observatory's songbird banding station. I have banded dozens of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and my fascination with these tiny dynamos increases with each individual whose life I "touch" for a few moments. But, I will never forget this little feathered family and they way that they touched us for a few magical weeks.