Godzilla vs. the hummingbird


So much excitement at Phoebe’s hummingbird webcam today! I was out and missed it all, but fortunately the host records everything and posts the videos, so I got to catch up on things.

Viewers, as many as 4,000 at a time, have been glued to their computers the last few days, waiting for Phoebe’s two eggs to hatch. A hole appeared in one of them Sunday, and then the activity seemed to stop. Consternation all around.

Today a lizard (same green as leaves, comes in from the upper left) tried to get to the nest and very nearly succeeded before Phoebe’s frantic activity (more heard than seen) caused it to lose its grip and fall. She then darted in (from the right) and removed the partially hatched but no longer viable egg.  All of this was caught on the quickly named “Godzilla” video. Viewers in the chat room theorize the smell of the open egg is what attracted the lizard.

When I last looked in a few hours ago, Phoebe was guarding a single egg, due to hatch at any time.

Meanwhile, over at Buzzie’s place, two fledglings, Zipper and Velcro left the nest yesterday and Buzzie is busy preparing it for her next clutch. (If only those teenagers would stop coming home for free meals!) If I understood correctly, the site crashed over the weekend under the weight of 12,000 visitors hoping to see the big launch.

I suppose you really have to be into birds to appreciate all this. But isn’t it amazing that modern technology can bring things like this into living rooms and classrooms around the world? (Well, maybe the lizard thing is a bit intense for young viewers.) And isn’t it wonderful that generous private individuals go to the trouble of setting up and maintaining these cameras for all of us to enjoy? (Tip of the hat to hosts Pungh0li0 and RobCam1.)

Notes: Don’t miss the sound at both these websites and on their videos. Make sure your computer volume is turned up and also the volume from the feed itself (speaker icon directly under the image). Many visitors have never heard the whirring of hummingbird wings. The background sounds of other birds, wind in the leaves, windchimes, rain, and people coming and going just add to the here-and-now feeling. Leave your computer on, even when you’re not watching, and you’ll feel like you’ve opened a window on spring.

As you watch, keep in mind that these nests are only the size of golf balls, and the eggs the size of Tic-Tacs.

Both sites feature wonderful, family friendly chat rooms. Moderators are always present but rarely need to step in as visitors mostly discuss the birds, ask questions, and comment on what’s happening. Both rooms use Ustream emoticons.

Both cameras are located in Orange County, California, just a few miles from each other. Both hummers are non-migratory Channel Island Allen’s hummingbirds, and both nests are in rose bushes (we women love our roses).

Phoebe is on Facebook and you’ll find lots of information and pictures there. She also has a FAQ page.

Buzzie also has a Facebook page with lots of good hummingbird info.

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