UPDATE: Feb. 18, 11:30 am MT — Sassy was removed from her nest a few minutes ago and taken to an expert for special care and feeding until she is able to survive on her own. She will be safe and well cared for and her mom, Phoebe, will no longer have to struggle to support a large but underdeveloped chick that normally would have left the nest by now. Phoebe is already hard at work repairing her nest and preparing it for her next clutch.
Feb. 20: Sad news this morning. Little Sassy died last night. In my experience, human intervention with baby birds is a very iffy proposition, and Mother Nature has her own ideas about the fate of any wild creature unable to survive on its own.
If you haven’t checked the hummingbird webcam recently, you’ll be amazed. Sassy, although still lagging developmentally, is growing like a weed. Here’s a screenshot I grabbed a few hours ago of her (?) giving those little wings a workout. Sorry about the blur; it’s a bit breezy in Orange County today. The high-quality camera normally provides remarkably clear viewing, even in full screen mode. Mom Phoebe was away foraging when I got this shot, but she’s being very attentive and is never gone for long.
For those of you who might not fully appreciate the wonder of this webcam, this nest is about the size of a golf ball. Normally a chick this size would have left the nest by now. Sassy, however, has not developed enough feathers to fly. The webcam owner has consulted with local experts and there are experienced bird rescuers monitoring the situation and standing by to take over care of the chick if that becomes necessary. They believe that storms in the area reduced the supply of insects (protein) and that has contributed to Sassy’s slow development.
It’s worth mentioning that the chat room is filled with the nicest bunch of folks you’d ever hope to meet.
More info about this cam was posted January 28.