And just like that, at 1:55 p.m., the nest is empty, or not quite.

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I went outside to look in hopes the younger of the two chicks had done what it’s older sibling had MOnday in venturing to a nearby branch for some pre-flight stuff. I gave the nest’s immediate vicinity a good look-around and found nothing, but a lucky glance down at the ground showed me the little bird looking healthy but otherwise trying to be invisible against the south fence… probably the result of some vigorous test flapping that lifted it up and away.

As I had returned it to the safety of its nest when it had accidentally grounded itself last Sunday, I did the same thing again, catching it up in my hands quite smoothly although the chick was pretty vocal in not wanting to be there.

I have to say it’s something rather unique to hold a hummingbird baby in the palm of your hand, and when I uncupped it sat for a moment long enough for me to grab a snap while looking at me with no exhibition of fear and in no real hurry to leave. But it did, flitting upward to a branch about eight feet up where it landed and immediately began chirping for momma who came zooming in with a series of clicks to make sure everything was all right (click to enlarge):

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I moved the webcam over to get however many final images before the chick flies away, but it tried another lift off and wafted to earth and I put it back in the tree in a different place where it is for now but I don’t know how much longer. It seems really eager to get a move on, and I’m glad I got a chance to say the more formal farewell that I didn’t get to do with the first who understandly never looked back when it took off. If you could fly, would you hang around the place you just spent the last several weeks sitting around? Me neither.

What an absolute blessing this has been to bear witness to the beginnings of these amazing creatures’ lives.