The first "residents" of the UA's ENR2 building — a mother hummingbird and her two babies — are now memorialized on the building's fifth floor. In the installment's lower left corner is part of the original nest and the data cable to which it was attached. (Photo: Bob Demers/UANews)
The first "residents" of the UA's ENR2 building — a mother hummingbird and her two babies — are now memorialized on the building's fifth floor. In the installment's lower left corner is part of the original nest and the data cable to which it was attached. (Photo: Bob Demers/UANews)

Hummingbird Family Lives On at UA's ENR2 Building

About a year ago, nature lovers from around the world couldn't get enough of the nest on which a video camera was trained, recording every movement of the mother and her two babies. A shadowbox now marks the spot on the building's fifth floor.
July 22, 2016
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Arizona Public Media will air a segment about the hummingbirds as part of its "Arizona Illustrated" program at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 8, on PBS 6 in Tucson. To watch the video, click here.

A hummingbirds mobile, mounted to the ceiling at the approximate location of the nest, was installed a few months ago at ENR2. (Photo: Bob Demers/UANews)
A hummingbirds mobile, mounted to the ceiling at the approximate location of the nest, was installed a few months ago at ENR2. (Photo: Bob Demers/UANews)

The world was watching — and rather intently — a year ago after a black-chinned hummingbird laid two eggs in a small nest she had built on the fifth floor of the Environment and Natural Resources 2 building on the University of Arizona campus.

Nature lovers from around the globe became riveted to the nest, thanks to a video camera installed by University Information Technology Services that recorded every movement of the mother and her two babies, nicknamed "Jack" and "Jill." Over a two-week span, HummingbirdCam received more than 250,000 views.

"We had emails from people who would say, 'I haven't seen the mother in two hours,'" recalled Drennen Brown, assistant director of information technology for Planning, Design and Construction at the UA.

"We didn't really know how to respond. Sometimes (the mother) would be gone the entire night. It was warm, but (the babies) survived regardless."

The heartwarming story served as a ready-made metaphor for the ENR2 building, which was designed to resemble a slot canyon and to include a number of environmentally friendly features. The building was still two months away from its official opening when the nest was first discovered on July 7 at the end of an overhead data cable. The eggs hatched on July 24.

On Aug. 15, the last of the babies left the nest. The family's celebrity was over.

"They were the first inhabitants of our 'canyon,'" said Betsy Woodhouse, deputy director of the UA's Institute of the Environment, which has its offices in ENR2.

On Friday, a shadowbox tribute to the hummingbirds was dedicated at the southeastern corner of the fifth floor of ENR2. The project, created by graphic designer Colleen Loomis of the Institute of the Environment with help from a Tucson gallery, Petroglyphs, includes an actual piece of the nest, attached to a slice of the cable on which it was built. A hummingbirds mobile, mounted to the ceiling at the approximate location of the nest, was installed a few months ago.

"We created a memorial to (the birds) so that our original environmental community is still with us," Woodhouse said.