The hummingbird babies grew, as babies do. Our kids named Sweetie Pie's kids "Daffodil" and "Tweetie Pie." Mom gradually became used to my daily treks up the ladder to check out her babies. She would patiently watch from an adjacent tree and didn't really seem to mind my continued curiosity.
At first the babies seemed so vulnerable, it was sometimes difficult even to see if they were alive, their eyes tightly shut, featherless and rather pathetic, I could barely make out the subtle rise and fall of their sides. As the days went by, feathers emerged, eyes opened, bodies steadily became bigger and they started getting visibly restless to get out of their ever shrinking nest. During the last week, Sweetie Pie no longer shared the nest, but would spend her time on adjacent branch or nearby tree. Only stopping by to feed them and encourage them to stretch their strengthening wings.
One morning, after Colin had checked on our extended brood, he told me "they are going to fly soon, maybe today." Turned out, he was only off by a day. The next morning, Tweetie Pie, the slightly larger hatchling, took flight, much to Daffodil's chagrin. We only saw him (my interpretation) a couple of more times and then he was gone and has never returned. Daffodil took flight the following day but she returned to her nest that night. She stuck around our yard for another week or so, with Sweetie Pie supplementing her food. Every night Daffodil took refuge in our Orange Jubilee bush. Then one day, she too was gone.
I'm am so happy for the little family, they did what nature dictates. They left the nest and became independent. Still, every time I pass their little empty nest, I think of them and miss them. I'm so grateful we had the opportunity to experience the evolution of a hummingbird family. But then I have to turn my mind away from how closely it hits to home. One day, we will experience an empty nest, I hope it is a day filled with joy for our kids, proud that they are making their way in the world. But there is no avoiding the inevitable sadness that will come along with it. I just hope that our two hatchlings will want to pay frequent visits to the nest that they were raised in and that we have adequately prepared them for the world. I guess only time will tell.......