Bai Yun’s New Neighbor

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A hummingbird neighbor.

Bai Yun has a new neighbor in her enclosure, and it’s not a Sichuan takin. A little hummingbird has taken up residence in the elm tree in the left-hand enclosure of the main exhibit. I first noticed the small bird, called an Anna’s hummingbird, yesterday as she was collecting some spider webs to make her nest above where I was narrating at the Giant Panda Research Station. A guest told me that he watched the bird fly over to the elm tree and pointed out her nest site to me.

For collecting webs, I have named the hummingbird Charlotte. Bai Yun doesn’t seem to be taking any notice of her new neighbor. Charlotte is a vigilant guard over her nest, though, and has been chasing away birds that are more than twice her size that come near her branch. To find Charlotte’s nest, look at the branch of the elm tree in front of Bai Yun’s cave. On top of the branch that is hanging lowest (and is cut on the end) you will find the tiny nest.

I hope Bai Yun doesn’t mind a little company during breeding season. For now, she is sharing the spotlight as photographers are also snapping photos of her small green-and-gray avian companion sitting on a nest.

Michelle Penick is a panda narrator at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Thinking of Spring.