Friday, April 7, 2017

Life on the Watershed: Nesting Season Under Way

The Peninsula Watershed is home to an abundance of diverse native birds and, after the rainiest winter in decades, spring nesting season is now under way. 

The wet weather has caused some of the hawks and other larger species here on the Peninsula to hold off a little longer than usual this year. But smaller songbirds have begun to nest, and the  tiny iridescent Anna’s hummingbirds are some of the first.   

The roughly 2-inch-diameter hummingbird nest, deep in the  greenery of trees or shrubs, is made of such materials as plant fibers, downy feathers and animal hair bound together with spider silk. Tufts of lichen woven into the exterior help to camouflage it from predators. It’s the female who builds the nest and raises the young alone, without assistance from the male.

For the most part, Anna’s hummingbirds are year-round residents. Their high-frequency wing beat allows them to hover by one flower, gleaning the nectar with a long thin bill—and even longer extendable tongue—before they dart off to the next flower, and the ones after that,  pollinating as they go.  

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