Pruning Your Trees? Watch Out For Hummingbird Nests!
Call me an old softy, but I love to watch birds. I'm not really sure why. I never really gave them too much thought in my younger years. But these days, I wish I had like 50 bird feeders in front of my window so I could just quit my job and watch the little birdies flutter about. Especially hummingbirds. I guess they're not rare, but I always feel like it's a small treat to see one.
Now, on the other side of that coin, when it's time to do work in the yard, I go into full-on army movie drill sergeant mode. I start screaming at the leaves and branches, calling the Private Leaf Pile and such. Mercilessly destroying dandelions, pruning the shrubs, all that stuff.
So how do I reconcile a world where I'm the generalissimo of landscaping one minute, and the big dumb teddy bear of bird watching the next? Simple. I love watching hummingbirds more than I care about my yard work. But you may also want to consider that some of those tiny little nectar lovers might be living right there in your bushes!
Hummingbird nests are teeny-tiny and hard to spot unless you're looking for them specifically. I mean, the eggs themselves are the size of jelly beans. So the nest can't be much bigger than the tips of your fingers.
If you're taking the time to inspect the trees and shrubs around your home, this article from Apost.com gives a pretty decent description of what the nests look like:
Hummingbirds use moss, leaves, and even spider webs to construct their tiny nests. They prefer to nest over down-sloping branches with running water nearby, but they make do with whatever they can. They make sure to camouflage their nests with lichen to protect their eggs from predators, but this makes them more susceptible to unknowing gardeners who are just trying to maintain their land.
Since honey bees are on the decline, hummingbirds are another reliable source of pollination in your yard. So if you have a sweet flower garden, you may have some perennial tenants that you didn't even know about, but could desperately use to have around. So look before you cut!
Tere's no question, the yard work has to get done, but you don't have to upset Mother Nature's apple cart to do it. I mean, they are dandy wee birdies that bring me a lot of joy. So if I have to take a few extra minutes to ensure the tiny hummers are safe, I'm all about it. Besides, they'll never sting you in the face!