Ruby-throated Hummingbird - Archilochus colubris

August 29, 2013


Recently, while out for a run, I came across the most amazing piece of little architecture. It was a lichen covered Ruby-throated Hummingbird nest, no larger than a small teacup. It was lying next to the bike path on which I was running. The fact that I spotted it at all is testament to just slow I am when I jog.

We get Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in this area but didn't realize that they nested here, so I was quite excited even beyond it just being a beautiful object. This is the time of year when they begin to migrate back south, so I will be putting out a hummingbird feeder in my backyard for the first time. Fingers crossed I will get some tiny, feathered visitors.

The little nest cup is entirely covered in lichen and it's one of the few lichens with which I am familiar enough to identify: Star Rosette Lichen. We have quite a bit of it around here on the trees. It's a pale green-grey foliose lichen. I love that silvery sage green color. If you want to see a photo of the nest, check out my Instagram feed. Above is the painting I made in the style of Francis Orpen Morris.

Off for another jog, but not holding my breath that I will find something this amazing today ; )

6 comments:

  1. You really shouldn't hold your breath while running...

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  2. Next time I see you, I shall refer to you as "SPAM".

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  3. Oh my word, isn't that just perfection. So sweet, it was a home for some teeny babies for sure. I am always amazed when I come across a nest like this, it's only happened a couple of times, but i wonder, how did it get there? I recently found a nest at the bottom of our hedge, all intact? Surely they would disentangle as they fell through something, or even if it blew there in the wind?? I just love to see inside them, and all the work that goes into them, That one is a lovely colour! :) I checked out your photo on instagram and it is tiny. :)

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    1. Hi Julie - Yes, it is super tiny, but a marvel of intricate work! I certainly don't find nests like this often either. The other great find was by my husband. He brought me home an oriole's nest. I think finding them is all about timing, because they probably decompose or get dismantled quickly after falling out of a hedge or tree...

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  4. I hope you have luck with your hummingbird feeder! We have one that gets frequent, tiny, jeweled visitors and when it needs to be refilled, the birds chirp at me.

    Diana, I love your work in all it's elements...the animals, the folkloric quality, the sentiments expressed in your quotes and your absolutely dead on skill in rendering it all so beautifully. Thank you for your inspiration!

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    1. Hi Martha - thanks so muhc for the kind words! I haven't put up my hummingbird feeder yet, but hoping in the next couple of days. You must live somewhere that gets a lot of hummingbird traffic to be so lucky to have all of those little jeweled visitors!

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