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A Home for Hummingbirds

I love nature and gardening. Birdwatching and taking photographs of wildlife in my backyard have become a way of life.

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Making a man-made nest for hummingbirds

This is story of how a man-made hummingbird's nest was fashioned to save a hummingbird family from near disaster. The original nest was infested with bird mites which drove the baby chicks to abandon their nest. One of the baby hummers fell to the pavement and was near death.

I chronicled the daily happenings with videos and photos from beginning till end, capturing all the unexpected drama and suspense until the hummers fledged. This is the story of how an artificial man-made nest became a home for hummingbirds.

All photos were taken me Bakerwoman--All rights reserved.

On the morning of April 17th, I was delighted to find this hummingbird nest with one egg.The mother hummingbird chose a pink ivy geranium, not because it was her favorite color, but because the plant was dense, and had strong stems which bounced and swayed with the wind.

April 18 - Then there were two small eggs. In my extreme excitement, I hovered over the nest and took lots of photos.

April 19 - The two eggs had disappeared! The mother hummer may have relocated the eggs due to invasion of her privacy, or some predator may have stolen the eggs.

The back of the nest was camouflaged with dried geranium leaves glued together with spider's web. Notice how much shorter the nest is next to the wine cork. Perhaps, mother hummingbird did not like the whiff of Chardonnay?

So what is with ivy geraniums and hummingbird's nests? This is the third time that a nest has been built on one of these potted trailing plants. There are several reasons I can think of based on my encounters with hummingbirds: the fan-like leaves hide the nest well; the trailing branches bounce and sway with the wind; no other kind of bird could hover and invade the little nest which would not be able to hold its weight; the plant is hanging on a trellis against the side of the house, which serves as a wind breaker; and the swimming pool keeps the area cool.

This new nest was built outside my bedroom window, which made it so convenient to peak at what is going on.

This nest is in the early stages of construction, with leaves, bud scales, and moss glued together with spider's web. The walls are thin and semi-transparent. It takes about 5-6 days to build a nest with the mother hummer making 34 trips an hour to and from the nest bringing in more nest materials.

This nest is cantilevered, meaning it is only supported on one end and the rest floats in the air. There are two pine needles sticking out of the nest, perhaps to add to the structure, but definitely not for stability. The mother hummer gets an A+ for her artistic flair. But as for her engineering prowess, that remains to be seen.

The diameter of the hummingbird's nest is just a little bigger than a quarter. In a few more days, the walls of the nest will be thicker with added plant fibers, weed stems, plant down, and lichen to give it structure. The bottom and the wind-side of the the nest will be thicker, and the backside and upper portion thinner.

The mother hummer, who we have affectionately named Hummie, is an Allen's hummingbird, which is native to coastal California and a miniscule portion of lower Oregon. The name commemorates Charles Andrew Allen (1841-1930) and American collector and taxidermist from Marin County, California. Allen's hummingbird is one of the smallest hummingbirds in the North American continent.

Female Allen's and immature Rufuous hummingbirds look so much alike that sometimes it is difficult to tell them apart.

The male Allen's hummer is smaller than the female but makes up for the diminutive stature with a iridescent reddish-brown gorget (throat), rufous sides and metallic green head and back.

First hummingbird's egg May 26

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Imagine the excitement I felt after seeing this! The white oval egg was about the size of a coffee bean. More plant down had been added to thicken the walls of the nest and a sprinkling of moss and lichen were added for camouflage.

Second Egg May 28 - Jelly bellies

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Two days later, a second egg was laid in the nest. These eggs are half the size of jelly bellies. That is how tiny they are!

Hummie sat on the nest most of the day to keep the eggs warm and guard them against predators. She would only leave the nest to forage for nectar and bugs and return every 10 minutes.

Experience the discovery of a new nest with this video. - May 23-June 11

Mother Hummie will sit on the nest for 15 days - Incubation period

Introducing Hummie, the Allen's hummingbird mother, so tiny and petite, compared to any hummingbirds I have ever seen. Barely 3 inches long from the tip of her tail to her bill, Hummie has a distinct brown throat patch which would become iridescent orange when she moved her head from side to side. A real lightweight, Hummie only weighs as much as a dime.The hummingbird mother will shiver and quiver in the nest to produce more heat to keep the eggs warm.

Day 1 June 12 Happy Birthday Sela - One baby Allen's hummingbird hatched

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One little hummer, I named Sela, had hatched in the early morning next to an egg with a crack on it. It looked like Hummie, the momma had already disposed of Sela's egg shells as far away from the nest as possible so as not to leave clues for predators. The embryo inside the second egg could be seen moving around and getting ready to hatch. This was captured on video, and although it is a bit grainy, it is a must-see. I was a nervous wreck during this filming.

Second egg hatched June 12 - Welcome Sela and Sasi

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It was almost noon and the temperature rose to the 90's. The second hummer, I named Sasi, finally broke out of its shell as the nest swayed with the wind. The hatchling struggled for a while to get the two halves of the shells out of its way, but only to get its behind stuck in one of them.

The two hatchlings, Sela and Sasi, were named after the scientific name Selasphorus Sasin for the Allen's hummingbird specie. I took two syllables from each of the two Latin words and created the names, Sela and Sasi.

The two eggs were laid two days apart but hatched the same day. Hummers have a way to incubate eggs so this would happen.

Day 1 The Birth of a hummingbird

Day 2 June 13- Two little raisins - Mother's instinct at its best

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Hummie has cleaned up almost all the broken egg shells in the nest. The two-day old hummer babies look like raisins with feather tracts of rufous or reddish-brown fuzz on their backs. This is the area where they need insulation the most.

The hummers were born blind but can hear and feel the wind from Hummie's wings when she comes to feed. Immediately, Sela and Sasi will lift up their heads and open their short orange beaks to beg for food.

Hummie has become very protective of her two 2-day old babies. She flew into the nest and noticed the camera on a tripod pointed at the nest, stared at it head-on and started to fan her tail. Her reflection on the camera lens may have misled her to think that there was another hummer threatening the nestlings.

Watch Hummie fan her tail - Show of aggression

Listen to Hummie's tail make the cricket-like sound as she fanned her tail at the camera.

Day 3 June 14- A real kicker - Shake a leg, Sasi!

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The two hummers have grown overnight and napped most of the time. Even a 3-day-old nestling can kick the nest with one foot when the nestmate is taking up too much space.

Day 4 June 15- Big mouths - Eating machines

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The orange beaks have grown wider and longer so mother Hummie can better aim food into the nestlings' throats.

Day 4 - Making room for the growing family - More elbow room

What does the mother hummer do to make sure the nest is big enough for her growing babies? Watch Hummie shimmy, jiggle, and use her body, wings and chest to stretch and expand the nest in four directions.

Day 5 June 16- Sharing body heat - Warming up with feather down

a-home-for-hummingbirds

At Day 5, the two nestlings snuggle next to each other to share body heat. The tufts of fuzzies have grown longer and thicker which help insulate the backs of the hummers.

Day 6-7 June 17-18 Extra skin and pin feathers - Transformation overnight

a-home-for-hummingbirds

The two nestlings have grown extra skin around their bodies to accommodate their expanding volume. The nest looked like it is getting crowded.

The fuzzies have turned into pin feathers which will eventually become real feathers.

Hummie, the mother hummer has a long tongue which is forked and have fringes at the tip. Capillary action helps draw in more fluid. She laps up nectar by extending and contracting her tongue 13 times per second. Contrary to popular belief, hummingbirds do not suck nectar with their beaks like a straw. Instead nectar is lapped up like a cat would drink water.

Hummie continues to feed the 8-day-old babies who must constantly eat in order to stay alive because of their high metabolic needs.

Day 9 June 20 Trouble Brewing - The nest is coming apart at the seams

a-home-for-hummingbirds

The nest is beginning to slope to one side due to gravity and the mother's weight when she perches on one side to feed the babies. The plant down has started to destabilize from the squirming bodies rubbing against the inside of the nest. The structural integrity of the nest is going downhill.

Day 9 Feeding the babies is more important

a-home-for-hummingbirds

Hummie, the momma continues to perch on one edge of the sloping nest to feed her young. Her added weight is putting a strain on the nest. Unfortunately, this is the only way can reach those open beaks.

Day 10 June 21- Eyes can now see - There is a big world out there.

a-home-for-hummingbirds

The 10-day-old hummer babies can now see and are wondering what is going on. Their orange beaks have grown longer and darker. In order to fit better and stay comfortable in the nest, the hummers frequently change positions.

Trying to stay put

Watch the 10-day-old hummer squirm inside the thinning and sagging nest. Notice the walls of the nest contract and expand with every movement. The nest is beginning to lose its stability and structure.

Day 11 June 22 Nest is getting really crowded - A call for expansion

a-home-for-hummingbirds

More pin feathers have developed so Sela and Sasi can keep themselves warm without relying too much on Mom's body heat. Mom has to find bugs for protein and nectar to feed her two nestlings.

Day 12 June 23- Lopsided nest - A weighty problem

a-home-for-hummingbirds

The growing hummers have difficulty staying still in the nest which has become lopsided. The withered leaves around the nest were left untouched to camouflage it from snooping larger birds, like robins and crows.

Day 13 June 24 Slipping and Sliding - Double trouble

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Sela and Sasi could barely stay inside the nest without sliding off the edge. Both of them spent more time squirming and adjusting their bodies against each other to avoid falling out of the nest. Just think of the energy being wasted which the developing babies need so badly. It is like being on a treadmill all day to lose weight.

Balancing Act - Like being on a tightrope

The hummer's nest continued to slant to one side which made it very awkward for the babies to keep still. Watch how Sela struggles to stay in the nest while Sasi naps.

A temporary fix - Nest straightened out

a-home-for-hummingbirds

The nest was straightened out a bit by tying two of the geranium branches together at the bottom of the pot with a twine. This was a short-term solution and not the best one.

The 13-day-old nestlings calmed down after the nest was no longer sagging. All the squirming was too much exercise for the growing hummers causing them unnecessary stress and fatigue.

Double helpings for the brood - Feeding frenzy

Mother hummer could now feed Sela and Sasi from her perch after the nest was straightened out. She had a lot of trouble leaning over to feed them before the fix. To compensate for a few lost meals, Hummie flew in and gave the two hungry babies double helpings. Watch how momma tried to feed them on the opposite side of the nest only to return to her original perch.

The 14-day-old hummer chicks have grown wings and tail feathers. The nest is also getting more crowded, so they change positions often to fit more comfortably.

Day 15 June 26 - Sasi jumps out of nest, not once, but twice. - Pine Needle saves Sasi

a-home-for-hummingbirds

The morning of day 15 found Sasi upside-down and clinging for her dear life on the pine needles. After gingerly plucking the fragile hummer baby from her tight grip on the pine needles, she was put back in the cramped nest. A few minutes later, Sasi did the same stunt.

Something needed to be done quickly to prevent a fatal fall. There was no time to speculate as to why the little hummer kept falling out or jumping out of the nest.

Little Sasi looked so tired and exhausted after the accident. Who knows how long she has been clinging onto the pine needle when she was found.

Hummie, the mother hummingbird may not be an expert nest builder, but she must have put the pine needles on the side of the nest for a purpose. It was apparent today. Kudos to the momma for her foresight and creativity.

Pine Needles save Sasi

This video shows Sasi clinging precariously on the pine needles that saved her fall to the ground. The sloping nest was straightened out with green plant ties around the pot.

Mom rewards 15-day-old hummers with double helpings - Must-see

How do two rambunctious nestlings turn around in a small crowded nest? One can see how all the squirming and moving around is causing problems for the fragile nest. Watch Mother Hummie fly in several times to feed Sela and Sasi. Listen to the hum of mother's wings just as she arrives with dinner. What a much awaited event that sends one of the hummers flapping its wings with joy.

Day 15 June 26 - Building The Big Nest

Making a manmade or artificial nest for the hummingbirds

These were the materials used to create the The Big Nest, a safety nest, to keep the hummer chicks from falling off or jumping out of their nest again. The top portion of an empty plastic water bottle was used to create a funnel-shaped nest. This was then padded with cotton and wrapped with stretchable cotton gauze.

Cut two strips of stretchable cotton gauze long enough to wrap around the cut plastic bottle top. Cut two pieces of rolled cotton for padding.

Put one piece inside the "nest" for cushion, making sure to also pad the cut edge of the water bottle. Use double-sided tape to attach the cotton to the nest.

Punch two holes on opposite ends of the nest and attach two green plant ties. Tightly wrap the cotton gauze around the nest and secure with tape on the bottom and sides.

Turn the nest right side up and place a piece of the rolled cotton on top. Secure with double-sided tape to keep it in place.

Attach geranium leaves to the outside of the nest with double-sided tape. And then finish off with smears of spider webbing.

That evening The Big Nest was hung on a small shepherd's hook on the geranium pot with the hummer's nest just above it just to see what it would look like. Then I put it aside for fear that Hummie may balk at the new contraption and abandon her babies.

Day 16 June 27- Unwelcomed visitors - In your face

a-home-for-hummingbirds

Mites have been crawling all over the faces of Sela and Sasi. It seemed like these where transported with the regurgitated food Hummie pumped into the babies' throats.

Mighty Mites! - An invasion

Look closely at the video and mites can be seen crawling on the beak and face of one of the hummers. Is it any wonder that the two babies kept squirming incessantly in the nest?

Day 16 Little sword swallowers - Double dipping

The two hungry hummers lift up their heads with their beaks wide open at the hum of Hummie's wings. Hummie continued to make her predictable feeding schedule every 10-15 minutes.

Day 17 June 28 - Sasi and Sela abandon nest! - The Big Nest to the rescue!

a-home-for-hummingbirds

On the morning of June 28th, I was alerted by my husband that the two hummers did not appear to be visible in the nest. I rushed outside in my pajamas to find the two hummer chicks dangling outside their nest- Sela with one foot on the collapsed nest, and Sasi hanging on to dear life on the pine needle. This is the third time that the pine needle on the side of the nest had saved Sasi.

The Big Nest, which I had built as a "safey nest" the day before, was put to good use. This was suspended on a small shepherd's hook stuck to the flower pot, holding the hummer's nest for support. Little Sasi was put back in the nest while Sela, the older sibling rested on The Big Nest. However, perching all day long was a tad tiresome and stressful for Sela. She seemed to miss being in a small and secure nest that hugged her body.

Day 17 A baby's bootie becomes hummer's nest

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This is when the little baby's bootie, which was one of my reject knitting projects, came into the picture. With a tapestry needle, I sewed around the knitted bootie and made it about 2 1/2 inches long, stuffed the inside with cotton and secured it to the Big Nest with green wired plant ties.

That evening, Sela slept in her own knitted bassinet.

Sela and Sasi have a new home - A Big Nest for little hummers

Sasi is constantly squirming and scratching while in the nest. Something seems to be terribly wrong and making the little hummer restless.

The Big Nest, an extreme makeover - Hummie welcomes the new accommodations for the hummers.

Like clockwork, the mother hummingbird arrived as expected to feed her brood.Sela looks very contented in her new knitted nest. Sasi appears to be making spasm-like motions every two seconds. Something is deadly wrong.

Day 18 June 29 - All is calm on the western front. - Or so it seems

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Note how tiny the hummingbird's nest is compared to the knitted version. One cannot imagine how two growing hummers can fit comfortably in that small nest.

Day 18 Momma feeds babies in the man-made nest - Momma hummingbird approves of the new nest

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Hummie, the dedicated and dutiful momma, continued to make her 15-minute trips back and forth the nest to feed her brood.

Day 19 June 30 - Sasi jumps to the pavement! - Mighty Mites!

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On the morning of Day 19, Sasi was found almost lifeless on the ground. One of her wings appeared to be broken, tufts of feathers were coming loose, and she was breathing heavily. Inspite of having The Big Nest as a safety net, Sasi still fell to the ground. It was obvious that the mites drove Sasi to leave the nest.

This nest was cut from the stem it was built on as it could no longer hold its shape and was infested with mites. I put this inside a pastic bag and within a day the mites have reproduced like crazy. In the meantime, I had to scrounge around the house hoping to find something that would be suitable and comfortable for poor little Sasi.

Day 19 Little felted wool nest for Sasi - There is no time to waste--this is an emergency

a-home-for-hummingbirds

Then I found a rectangular piece of felted wool in my knitting bag. This was meant to be a pocket for one of my felting projects, but got lost in the stash of yarn. A light bulb flashed in my head, and in no time, a new bassinet was fashioned for little Sasi. To finish it off, a thin layer of rolled cotton was stuffed inside the felted nest. This would mimic the plant down that the mother hummer had put inside the original nest.

Sasi in felted nest after her fall

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The felted nest was a perfect fit for little Sasi who was only 2 1/8" long, from the tip of her stubby tail to her bill.

The felted wool nest will stretch a bit and still retain its shape. It will also keep the little hummer warm when the temperatures drop in the evening.

Sasi joins Sela - Hummers prefer being in close quarters

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By morning, Sasi has moved over to snuggle with Sela. What a happy twosome.

Little Sasi could not lift her head to eat - Getting weaker

Most of Day 17 was a struggle for the injured hummer. Sasi made jerky motions, and tried to lift her head when momma came to feed, but to no avail.

Momma tries to feed injured Sasi - A very concerned mother

Sasi has not been very responsive during all the feeding times and Hummie is getting worried. She is too weak and is unable to lift her head and open her mouth to get some nourishment. Watch how the mother hummer made several attempts to get Sasi to eat by poking her with her long bill.

Day 20 July 1 - Big sister Sela takes care of little Sasi. - Lots of TLC

a-home-for-hummingbirds

Little Sasi is still weak and slumped in her green nest. She has not eaten much but seemed to be more alert than the previous day.

The injured hummer, Sasi, has barely eaten for hours as she was unable to lift her head and open her mouth when momma came to feed. Older sibling, Sela finally poked Sasi with her bill and the little one finally opened her mouth and got her first good meal.

Little Sasi is slowly recuperating and had gained enough energy to stand up and perch. Tender loving care and encouragement from Sela and mother Hummie contributed to Sasi's recovery. Notice how the two hummers like to stay close to each other for comfort.

At the end of the day, Sasi decided she preferred snuggling with Sela in the baby's bootie nest.

Older sibling, Sela, prods injured Sasi to eat - Making a difference

This is the second day of recuperation for Sasi after she fell to the pavement. She continues to make jerky motions and is too weak to lift her head and open her mouth when mom comes to feed. Watch how the frustated and worried Hummie flies in three times to feed the chicks and only Sela gets to eat. Eventually, Sela had enough and refused to eat anymore. Instead she poked famished Sasi with her bill to get her to open her mouth to eat. Watch closely.

The two nestlings have adapted well to their luxurious bedroom suite and are not complaining. Hummie, the momma gratefully approves of the handcrafted nests from her human friends. She dutifully flew in every 15 minutes to feed the excited and growing babies.

The hum of Hummie's wings light up the faces of the hungry hummer chicks. It is always such a joy to see momma.

Sela and Sasi are displaying the iridescent green outer feathers which have broken out of their sheaths. These will eventually turn into green upperparts just like mom's. Their throats have the bronze-dotted pattern, rufous wash on the sides, underparts, and base of the tail feathers. The tails are rufous, black and green with white outer tips. The three white outer tips means Sela and Sasi are females.

Mali, the calico cat, wants to know what is all the commotion outside the bedroom window. She wants know why I spend so much time outside without her.

The stem above the nest would hit Sela's head every time she perched on one of the knitted nests. She did not seemed pleased and tried to bite it off.

I took a pair of scissors and snipped off the branch which made Sela happier and feeding less of a hassle.

Little Sasi loves her handmade green felted nest! - All organic

The felted nest is made of 70% wool and 30% soy yarn. And yes, soy as in tofu! The mattress pad is made of 100% rolled cotton. How green can that be.

Everything you want to know about felting

Make a hummer's nest.

Wool and soy yarn were used to felt and make Sasi's nest. This combination of wool and soy yarn also makes the finished product very smooth to the touch. Wool alone is a bit scratchy because of the scales in the fiber.

Watch Hummie feed the hungry nestlings! - Birds do smile!

Sela and Sasi keep each other warm

Separate nests do not prevent the two hummers from huddling together. Afterall, Sela and Sasi were used to cramped quarters the first two weeks of their lives.

Day 22 July 3 - Lounging around The Big Nest - Supersized romper room

a-home-for-hummingbirds

The older sibling, Sela moved to Sasi's designer felted nest to check it out. It sure makes a nice perch for a fledgling.

Sela is the larger of the two hummers and measures approximately 2 1/2" from tail to bill. The ruler is at an angle and gives an idea of the size of the tiny hummer.

It is Day 22 and Sela is looking very much like a real hummingbird fledgling.

Most of the day, Sela groomed, scratched, arched and flapped her wings while perched on the green nest. Sasi, on the other hand, had moved down to the lower floor and found her favorite niche.

The sound of airplanes overhead would always interest Sela as she craned her neck to see what's up there.

The whirr of Hummie's wings would alert the two hummers to get ready for feeding time. Momma stopped feeding at about 8:30 in the evening.

That's about the time I would put away the camera.

In the evening, Sela would snuggle up to Sasi so they could keep each other warm. Their feathers make very good insulation and help retain their body heat.

Do Sela and Sasi measure up?

Allen's hummingbirds are the smallest of Northern American hummingbrids.

Rehearsing for the big day - Doing what hummers do best

Sela has been doing more wing exercises to get ready to fly out of the nest. Afterall, she has been nesting for 23 days in The Big Nest and her ETD (estimated time of departure) has been delayed.

Day 23 July 4 - Sela's Independence Day - Time to go

a-home-for-hummingbirds

It is hard to believe how two hummer chicks could be so different in size when both were hatched on the same day. The first egg (Sela) was laid on May 23rd and the second egg (Sasi), two days later. The mother hummingbird ensured that both hummer chicks would have the same birthday.

Day 23 Sela looks for mom - It's time to go

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Sela has spent all day preening, perching, pecking at bugs in the nest and waiting for momma Hummie to come and bring more food.

By now, the 23-day old Sasi has learned to perch just like a true fledgling.

Day 23 July 4 Sela gets her last supper from Momma

a-home-for-hummingbirds

This is the last time I would see Sela after her pre-flight meal from momma. The doorbell rang and guests have arrived for the July 4th barbeque dinner. I left momentarily and 30 minutes later, my husband announced that Sela had fledged.

Day 23 Sasi is now all alone - Big sis has left the nest

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Sela has left the nest and little Sasi looks so forlorn and lonely. This will be her first night all alone in The Big Nest.

Best Friends Forever - Up close and personal

This is one of my favorite videos of Sela and Sasi sitting side by side for the last time in The Big Nest. Sela is busy preening and cleaning her feathers. Watch Sela use her tiny claws to clean her long bill while Sasi quietly learns from Big Sis.

Switching places in the nest - Little hover crafts

Hummingbirds have weak feet and cannot walk or hop like other birds. Instead, they use their wings to propel and lift their bodies in order to move around. Watch Sela and Sasi trying to trade places in the Big Nest. This would never have been possible in their little hummer's nest.

Sela and Sasi grooming and preening their feathers - Getting flight gears in top condition

Before a hummingbird can fledge, its feathers must be fluffed, cleaned of dirt, parasites and oil. Using its long bill, the hummingbird will nibble along its feathers to oil and smooth out any separated feather barbs. This will restore the smooth surface of the feathers. It will use its tiny claws to scratch its head, chest, and back.

Watch Hummie gives Sela her going away meal - Time to go

In this video, the mother hummer feeds Sela and Sasi and then used her long bill to prod Sela to leave the nest.

Watch Sela flap her wings and clumsily attempt to fly, only to lose her balance and almost falling off The Big Nest. But like a real fledgling, she tried again and again until she disappeared into the blue yonder.

Hummingbird nectar recipe

Hummingbird nectar is 1 part sugar to 4 parts of water.This needs to be boiled for 2 minutes to kill the mold spores in granulated sugar. Cool by putting some ice cubes without diluting the mixture too much. Or if you have time, cool the boiled mixture before pouring into clean hummingbird feeders. Hang your feeders away from direct sunlight to prevent the nectar from getting cloudy and spoiling.

Saying goodbye to little Sasi - All good things must come to an end.

This is me petting little Sasi on her last day in The Big Nest. It had been so wonderful playing host to nature's dazzling jewels.

Day 24 July 5 Bottom's Up - Born potty-trained

Hummingbirds are born potty-trained. This helps the mother hummer to keep the little nest clean. Watch Sasi back up to the edge of The Big Nest to poop.

Day 24 July 5 - Little Sasi takes off - Good things come to those who wait

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Bright-eyed little Sasi is now a fledgling. She would spend most of the day preening, scratching, doing some wing exercise or just perching on the edge of The Big Nest. It is Day 24 and little Sasi has overstayed in The Big Nest.

Perching all day can be tiresome for Sasi's weak feet. It seemed like she was nodding off while waiting for mom to come feed her.

Day 24 July 5 Sasi gets here pre-flight meal

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This is a still shot from the video showing Hummie giving Sasi her last meal. Mother then hovers and signals the little hummer to get going.

Day 24 July 5 Sasi lifts off

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Sasi finally left the nest as I watched through the window while the video camera was rolling. I came out of the house and turned off the camera not knowing that the fledgling was perched on one of the branches. In the blink of an eye, Sasi was gone.

Day 24 - Video of Sasi fledging - Priceless moment to cherish

This video captured Sasi getting her last meal from mother and then was prodded by momma to leave the nest.

Listen to the whirr of Hummie's wings as she came back to the nest and hovered over the little fledgling. Watch Sasi obey Mother, make several attempts to flap those wings, and fly off. This is funny and heartwarming to watch.

Day 25 - The empty Big Nest

Day 25 - The empty Big Nest

Day 25 - The empty Big Nest

Day 29-35 Fledglings on the loose - Out on a limb

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A week has gone by since Sela and Sasi flew away. I had no idea that the two fledglings were not too far away from the nest. With my trusty digital camera, I ventured into the grove of cypress trees by the pool in hopes that I would find them.

Day 29 - I spotted Sela, the older hummer perched on a cypress tree branch. She lingered for 5 minutes or so and flew away as soon as this picture was taken.

Day 32- Little Sasi was spotted sitting on her favorite perch calling for momma Hummie. Mother would fly in to feed the fledgling as she is still unable to forage for food on her own.

Like clockwork, Hummie would come to the cypress trees and feed little Sasi, morning, noon and late afternoon.

It seems like whenever I called Sasi's name, the little hummer would be there in a few minutes, perched on her favorite cypress limb. Hummingbirds are known to remember an individual's voice or place of interest.

Day 34- Sasi has been waiting for mom for an hour as the feedings became less frequent.

Day 35 - It has been 11 days since Sasi left the nest. By now, the fledgling has learned how to fly to higher branches. This was the last time I will ever see little Sasi again.

Mother continues to feed fledglings in the garden - By the cypress trees

The tripod was set on top of a 6 ft. ladder in order to take this video of Hummie feeding Sasi on her favorite cypress tree limb.

Sela, the elegant and caring sibling

Sela, the elegant and caring sibling

Sela, the elegant and caring sibling

Sasi, the little fledgling

Sasi, the little fledgling

Sasi, the little fledgling

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World of Hummingbirds


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"A Home for Hummingbirds" story enjoyed in Europe

This lens was featured in Knu.ti Weekly Magazine, a German Wildlife publication in Europe on Nov.14, 2010

Many thanks to Brit Haagna, moderator of a German bird forum for translating the lens for various bird forums (Lithuanian, Polish, German, Spanish) and publishing the daily sequels for over a month until the happy ending on Christmas eve 2010.

Hummie is a tiny Allen's hummingbird mother whose boundless love and energy helped made this story have a happy ending.

Mother Hummie did not care what kind of nest her hummer babies grew up in, whether it was the one she built, or the one made by her human friends. Because in reality, home is where the heart is.

A salute to the beautiful Allen's hummingbird fledglings - Two of nature's dazzling jewels

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And so ends this photo story and mini docudrama about the two hummer babies, Sela and Sasi, who spent one-third of their lives in The Big Nest. They may migrate to Santa Barbara in Southern California or make their winter homes South of the Border. What amazing stories will the fledglings be telling their friends about their adventure in The Big Nest?

This story will continue when one or both of them return next year.

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The hummers are starstruck.

This lens was nominated and bestowed the Purple Star Award. Thank you so much to the Squidoo Community.

I would love to hear your chirps and tweets here.

Roxanne from Charleston on June 08, 2020:

Beautiful photography and story. But am I the only one who sees the things in this story that are terribly wrong? I almost came to tears when the hummingbirds left because you kept coming too close and making mama feel compromised. You were a dear to save the little ones in the nest. And then you pet them before they left? For the lady who said: "I didn't know you could pet them." Please don't. Again, beautiful story and you SHOULD write the children's book.

Tina from Indiana on March 14, 2020:

I could not stop watching the wonderful story of this beautiful hummingbird family. I was brought to laughter and tears. Just breath taking to see one of Gods smallest of creatures up close and personal. Just an extraordinary and rare moments to capture on tape......the life of one (my opinion) of the most beautiful and mysterious birds God ever created. I thank you for sharing, and I thank the little hummer family for sharing their time together.

Rachel Locklin on October 23, 2019:

Cant thank you enough for sharing this little family of humming birds. So amazing!!

Jean Pierre on September 26, 2019:

Wow !!! what a beautiful, beautiful story, what luck and good effort could have saved these little hummingbirds and bring them to their journey, from the egg to the flight.

Kathi on July 08, 2019:

Your story was so heartwarming that I stayed up until 06:31am, USA time, in Douglasville, Georgia to finish reading it. I really truly enjoyed your story about Hummie and her beautiful babies. I can’t wait to see and read more about them returning to your home to nest.

Thank You for such educational reading.

Penny Leigh Sebring from Fort Collins on June 04, 2019:

What a wonderful and well-written account. I was riveted!

Danielle on April 26, 2019:

This beautiful story has captured my attention for the last 2 hours. What a blessing to have witnessed it all and thank you so much for editing and sharing. I'm the one who feels blessed this morning. Thank you

Emma Houghton from Somewhere on April 18, 2019:

this was lovely......

Arlene on March 15, 2019:

This should be a children’s book!!!! So sweet and I was on the edge of my seat wondering if Sasi would survive! Loved it

Pamela from Montana on February 17, 2019:

I truly enjoyed your journal. Your idea of the Big Nest was great...thank you for your time and patience. It was remarkable ...

Brenda on February 08, 2019:

Thank you for sharing this amazing chronicle!!

Judith Frey on January 24, 2019:

Thank you so much for these photos and videos. !!!!!!!!!

Paula Bolton on January 21, 2019:

I was so excited to watch Hummie and her babies!! Thank You so Very Much for making this video available. It's awesome!!! Those babies were so lucky to have you looking out for . I had a nest in a tree outside of my bedroom window. Next spring I;m going to video them. I can't wait for mine to come back.. Thank You Again Your Awesome! Paula Bolton

carol on October 08, 2018:

How wonderful. I so enjoyed your documentory and all your input. Now i can hardly wait for next spring to continue on with their adventure. Where was Papa?

Now i know what ill be planting next year. Your ingenius idea for nest building was inspirational. Didnt know you could touch them. So sweet keep up the good work. Thanks

webscribbler on April 24, 2013:

Wow, what a tough start for such tiny little birds. How lucky they were to have been hatched in your garden. And, how exciting it must have been for you to see that little bird who looked near death to not only survive but fly away and thrive.

Thank you so very much for sharing.

Trailing geraniums...hmm...I wonder if ruby throats would like them.

anonymous on February 13, 2013:

What a wonderful and informative lens and such a pleasure to read. I love hummingbirds and have many of them in my back yard. They particularly love my honeysuckle vine and fight over the many many flowers that cover it. You did a great job caring for those little babies =)

FallenAngel 483 on August 02, 2012:

This is such a wonderful lens to read. I wish we had Hummingbirds in my country. After raising a Collared Dove that came out of the nest too soon I know all the emotions you go through when you get involved in helping wildlife. So happy that the little ones fledged and survived. You did a really great thing and thank you for sharing it.

Barbara2659 on July 01, 2012:

This is the MOST incredible lens yet! I can see why you won a purple star for it. I can't believe the patience it must have taken to complete such a wonderful lens! Congratulations!

anonymous on June 24, 2012:

My thanks to you for not only doing this, but also for sharing it. So nice to read a heartwarming article and know that there are kind caring people out there. There must e a special place in heaven for you.

RhiannonJ on May 10, 2012:

Beautiful docomentary of the time you spent with Sela and Sasi. You had me in joyful tears at times. Was so rewarding to see how you nurtured them and got to pet Sasi before she fledged. God bless you for all you do for these little jewels of flight

FunNaturePhotog on April 13, 2012:

How wonderful! That's it, I'm going geranium shopping!! Your story, pictures and videos are just delightful.

anonymous on April 11, 2012:

Loved this story of 2 little birdies! you played a good mother to both of them.

Elyn MacInnis from Shanghai, China on March 26, 2012:

What a heartwarming story. It is a good think you can felt!

JohannaBaker on February 01, 2012:

Amazing...!

Daphsam LM on January 18, 2012:

Unbelievable lens! Greatest lens and will recommend it to others! Thank you for showing us this world:)

SteveKaye on December 09, 2011:

This lens deserves a thousand Likes. Thank you for telling me about it.

jlshernandez (author) on December 03, 2011:

@jimmyworldstar, hummingbirds glue their nest together with spiderweb. It takes about 5-6 days for the nest to be build. Thanks for stopping by and taking interest in my favorite lens.

jimmyworldstar on December 03, 2011:

I love your day to day documentation of the hummingbird and its nest! When I had a tree near my room, I always woke up everyday to see the nest being slowly built and then I'd find a bird staring at me through the window lol.I wonder how they make the nest stay together though?

beckyf on October 29, 2011:

Awwww, how tiny and precious they are! I think this is THE most interesting lens I've seen on Squidoo so far. Wonderful work!

Grandad52 on October 22, 2011:

Pretty neat. My mom gets as many as 20 hummingbirds at her feeder and it is fun watching them dive at each other. She also gets a pileated woodpecker come to sit on the seed feeder eating suet. Yesterday I saw two bald eagles fly over the top of the car as I was crossing the river. Good pictures here and forwarding to mom.

timelapselove on October 20, 2011:

Coolest lens I've seen so far! Seriously awesome.

lc_online on October 11, 2011:

An absolutely incredible lens! Beautiful bird photos and videos, and you show such kindness and concern for the babies! Sharing the way you made the nest will probably the lives of countless other hummers. Thank you for your beautiful documentary.

pawpaw911 on October 09, 2011:

Now that is just cooler than heck. What a once in a life time experience. Great of you to record the whole event, and share with the rest of us.

sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on October 09, 2011:

wow. really a stunning lens construction. you have done a great job in this lens. ~blessed~

bikerministry on September 19, 2011:

We've attracted hummingbirds this year, but I've never seen the nests, didn't know about geranium leaves, had no idea how tiny the nest is, etc. What an incredible lens, by far my favorite in the 5 months I've been on Squidoo. SUPER LENS.

anonymous on September 06, 2011:

This has to be the Lens I love most of all I seen on Squidoo, ansolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story!

EMangl on August 18, 2011:

wonderful story book !

DuaneJ on August 09, 2011:

Hummingbirds are adorable. Excellent lens!

hotbrain from Tacoma, WA on July 26, 2011:

I really enjoyed this lens! The pictures are amazing, as is the story! I watched a bald's eagle nest this year and there is something so interesting about watching a bird's nest... Now the baby bald eagle flew away with its parents, but I look forward to next Spring :) I hope one day I am able to find a hummingbird nest to observe! Thanks to your pictures I know what to look for!

chris_triby on July 25, 2011:

I loved the detail in this lens. It might be lengthy but it draws you right in and keeps you moving. Amazing pictures and videos, this was such a cool experience.

hamshi5433 on June 23, 2011:

wowwww!! I absolutely adore this lens..Lovely pictures and very informative too..These birds are the fastest birds in the world right..Excellent work.

dani3l lm on June 18, 2011:

What a wonderful story, I hope the best for little Sasi! This is probally the best effort and well thought out lens I have seen. Great Job! A+ for you

anonymous on June 04, 2011:

WOW, I have cried like a little child! What an incredible amazing journey for the birds and you the wonderful human that helped. Everything from beginning to end has been breath taking. Thank you so much for providing the video and story for the public. Thank you most of all, for being there for them and helping them live. The equipment seems fantastic!

bbsoulful2 on May 09, 2011:

How blessed you are to have such a garden as invites these teeny friends! We are studying birds for homeschool now, and this lens offers a nice, rare glimpse at some really tiny ones! Thank you!

lizziehumphreys1 on April 27, 2011:

such a gorgeous lens :) the pictures are beautiful and the birds are sooo cute!

kathysart on April 11, 2011:

Chirp! I loved this lens so much that I Stumbled it and put it on my Facebook Wall, which I never do as I am an artist and I mostly only post my own work.. but this was just soo dear! Thank you! ~Kathy

anonymous on April 06, 2011:

I really enjoyed watching the little hummers grow up. Thanks so much for posting this.

GetSillyProduct on April 02, 2011:

awww, they're all grown up!

TheRatRaceRebel1 on April 01, 2011:

A Home For Hummingbirds is simply amazing! All I can say is WOW and thanks for sharing.

RickBasset on March 18, 2011:

What an amazing lens! Congratulations on your Purple Star! It's well deserved!

Blessed by this Squid Angel!

kguru1979 lm on March 18, 2011:

What a great effort you took in building such a cool lens ..! I really loved it ..! Thanks for sharing...!

anonymous on March 17, 2011:

Your babies are just the cutest little guys in the world. You have done a great service to nature.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on March 17, 2011:

Adding a kiss for luck on this St. Patrick's Day!

BubblesRFun on March 17, 2011:

I am blown away by this lens...........It is Truly MY Favorite!!!!! I love hummingbirds but my hummingbirds would never ever think about letting me get that close...GREAT Lens.......

VarietyWriter2 on March 16, 2011:

Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

Dinostore on March 11, 2011:

These photos are gorgeous! Great job on this! Thumbs up and fav'd.

jvsper63 on March 09, 2011:

lots of good information and pictures about the Humming Bird:) Nice job pretty lens

Amy Fricano from WNY on March 09, 2011:

This is triple purple star worthy. Love it, and learned some tricks for my own hummies. Thanks for a beautiful lens.

Light-in-me on March 08, 2011:

Hello,

I was here a while ago but I just love this lens so much that I came back to give it a Squid Angel blessing.

Nice job,

Robin :)

cloudiosify on March 07, 2011:

I love all the pictures. Splendid lens!

semas on March 07, 2011:

An amazing story well documented with visuals.Thank you for doing it!

anonymous on March 05, 2011:

Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful photos, videos and the story. You were truly blessed to witness one of natures little miracles - and we are blessed to have you sharing it with us!

Frankie Kangas from California on March 05, 2011:

Wow. What a wonderful story and beautiful photos and videos. Blessings from this Angel. Bear hugs, Frankster

seegreen on March 04, 2011:

This is the best page I have ever read on Squidoo. It's fascinating! Years ago when we lived in San Diego we had some hummingbirds in our yard but I don't know if they nested there. I wish I had read this back then, perhaps I would have known what to look for. One day one of the birds flew into the house and took about 10 minutes to find its way back out. I felt so sorry for the sweet little bird!.

Janet2221 on March 04, 2011:

Amazing! What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it. :)

anonymous on March 04, 2011:

This is so nice. My sister and her hubby have Humming Birds nest outside one of their window each year. I've been telling her that she needs to take pictures and videos like you did. I'm glad you did this and took the time to create this awesome site. Fantastic!

LikinTrikin LM on February 15, 2011:

Absolutely fabulous...they never would have survived without you......Amazing lens. I'm a hummingbird lover myself but have never seen anything like this before.

SandyPeaks on January 04, 2011:

Never seen anything like this before! Superb lens! Blessed by a SquidAngel.

Lee Hansen from Vermont on December 31, 2010:

What an astounding lens about Hummie and her family. I would love to have an opportunity to observe hummers up close like this in my garden. We just purchased the PBS DVC about Hummingbirds and really enjoy watching it in winter.

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on December 17, 2010:

What an amazing story you've told on this lens. I'm so glad you were there and able to help Hummie and her babies. Blessed by a SquidAngel and featured on my angel lens.

anonymous on December 13, 2010:

Es ist eine so wunderschöne und herzergreifende Geschichte. Man kann viel lernen und ich konnte meinen Kindern ein Tier näherbringen, welches es hier bei uns nicht gibt. Wir haben tiefe Einblicke in die Lebensweise dieser winzigen Geschöpfe bekommen und mitgefiebert, ob ihnen der beschwerliche Weg ins Leben gelingen wird. Ich bedanke mich vielmals für diese Möglichkeit! Greetings from Germany

jlshernandez (author) on November 25, 2010:

@Barb McCoy: @HarmonyArtMom for stopping by and reading this story. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me to help the babies grow up and fledge in a artificial nest. Thanks for lensrolling to your nature lenses.

Barb McCoy on November 25, 2010:

What a wonderful story you told in this lens. I too am a hummingbird lover and spend lots of time watching them in my garden but this was by far the best hummingbird story I have ever read and experienced. Thank for all your love and time that you put into building this lens. I will lensrolling it to several of my nature lenses.

anonymous on November 25, 2010:

Life is so amazing! I am wondering why hummingbirds population is not big. Only a few times I see hummingbird in my backyard and not even stop. I am going to expand my rose population and make it a small rose garden, maybe more birds will be attracted.

jlshernandez (author) on November 18, 2010:

@anonymous: This is an English translation of the German comments from our reader across the ocean-

"This is a wonderful story from which one can learn a lot. Thanks for giving Brit the permission to translate this in Germany for the forum www.worldofanimals.de to bring us closer to the lives of the hummingbirds. It is written with suspense and excitement that makes one eagerly wait for the next sequel."

anonymous on November 17, 2010:

Eine wunderschöne Geschichte, mit der man mitfiebert und sehr viel lernen kann. Dank der freundlichen Genehmigung zur Ãbersetzung kann Brit uns hier in Deutschland im Forum: www.worldofanimals.de die Geschichte und das Leben der Allenkolibris näher bringen.

Es ist so spannend geschrieben, das man sehr gespannt auf die Fortsetzungen wartet.

anonymous on November 15, 2010:

This is the most wonderful documentation I have ever experienced. So we learn, thanks to the author, also on the other side of the ocean something about these wonderful birds which we don't know here in Europe. Thank you so much, it's just wonderful!

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on November 14, 2010:

Totally fabulous! What I wouldn't give to have an experience like you shared. I had over 100 hummers feeding at my place all summer. How I miss them when they move on for the winter. Thanks for a spectacular lens.

GeoffSteen on November 14, 2010:

What an amazing lens, one of the best I've seen on Squidoo so far. It must be wonderful to have hummingbirds in your garden - I thought I saw one in my lavendar plant once, but it turned out to be a hummingbird moth.

Loren Gross from Jacksonville, Florida on November 14, 2010:

Wow! What a great lens. I know we have humming birds around here, but those things are so small and fast, you do not get to see them. At least not for long. Never had one stick around long enough for me to give-em a name. How cute. Great photos and story too.

JJNW from USA on October 27, 2010:

Well, Momsbusy can't bless it, but I can!! * SquidAngel Blessings * for a truly spectacular story, so very well told and documented. My mother adores hummingbirds and I am sending her this link. Lovely!

anonymous on October 24, 2010:

This is the best lens I have seen by far, I wish I was an angel so I could bless it. Wonderful story, pictures, everything. Fantastic

jlshernandez (author) on October 10, 2010:

@aesta1: This lens was a labor of love. I became so involved in the lives of these hummingbirds and now I often wonder where they are and how they are doing. Thank for stopping by.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 10, 2010:

I really enjoyed this lens. We have hummingbirds in the cottage but they are smaller. I have never seen their nests or their eggs. You have done a great job taking all those pictures.

anonymous on October 04, 2010:

Lensrolled to my lens- "Are you ready to adopt popular species of birds for pets".

anonymous on October 04, 2010:

Stunning and awesome lens on hummingbirds. I was very much a part of garden and birds during my childhood. Very inspiring and full of life.

ShamanicShift on September 19, 2010:

Amazing, beautiful and educational lens. My Tortoise Cat would be shocked by such commotion, like calico Mali! I grew up with hummingbirds outside my window in CA because they loved the row of "bottlebrush" plants there.

anonymous on September 09, 2010:

Cute tiny bird :) I also see some big birds in HK, just outside of my window, lazy in sunshine :)

BobbyBOOMBOOMBi on September 08, 2010:

Amazing! This lens should be rated WAY higher!

LouiseKirkpatrick from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on September 01, 2010:

This lens is just...well the word "amazing" doesn't come close. I was enthralled by the story of little Sela and Sasi and wish them a long and happy life - wherever they are now - may they stay safe and happy :)

Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

jlshernandez (author) on September 01, 2010:

@norma-holt: Your sprinkling of stardust is most welcome. Thank for featuring this lens.

jlshernandez (author) on September 01, 2010:

@Light-in-me: Thank you for your kind words. I did not have the heart to make matters get worse, so I had to intervene and help the helpless hummers.

Light-in-me on August 31, 2010:

I am totally moved and fascinated by this, you did a great job with this lens and taking care of them. Thank you for sharing this is wonderful!

Robin :)

jlshernandez (author) on August 30, 2010:

@GonnaFly: So glad you found the hummers and enjoyed their story of survival. Hummingbirds are only found in Northern and Southern America. But you can read about on Squidoo.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jeanette from Australia on August 30, 2010:

What a spectacular lens! We don't get hummingbirds here in Australia, so it was so lovely to stumble upon your lens and see these little beauties :-)

DecoratingEvents on August 29, 2010:

Beautiful! Stunning pictures and heartwarming story!

norma-holt on August 29, 2010:

Stunning and a great study of bird life. *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust

jlshernandez (author) on August 24, 2010:

@delia-delia: It gives me so much joy to have a visit from a Squid Angel. Thank you so much for visiting.

Delia on August 24, 2010:

another splendid Hummingbird lens...this is awesome! a ~"Squid Angel Blessing"~

anonymous on August 21, 2010:

@jlshernandez: Thanks for the compliment BakerWoman ... but I'm actually a bit jealous of your setup as you had 'em right at your house and your "care" for them was awesome.

Plus if you took those pictures with a Cybershot point-n-shoot, you did an amazing job - Hummers are small and fast!

FYI in case you missed the link, I was fortunate to have some House Finches nest on my front door - http://www.watching-grass-grow.com/house-finch/201...

Best Wishes,

alek

P.S.Drop me an Email (alek AT komar.org) if you would like to be on my couple times/year Email list for photo stuff from me.