hummingbird nest with two babies in colleyville nature center

Colleyville Nature Center

If you like this article, please share. Thanks!

The Colleyville Nature Center is owned and operated by the City of Colleyville Parks and Recreation.  This 46-acre refuge which features nine ponds and 3.5 miles of trails is a nature lovers paradise located right in the middle of a neighborhood!

I learned of this pocket of paradise, just 20 minutes from my house, through a group called Hiker Babes.  The group is global, and it has both a North Texas Chapter and a DFW Chapter which posts events on Facebook regularly.  It was my first time joining them for an activity, and me and my friend Laura had a nice time. And Laura even walked away with a backpack giveaway! Lucky winner!!

In addition to the ponds and trails, the Colleyville Nature Center includes parking for approximately 12 vehicles, a pavilion, restrooms, a fishing dock, a playground, and an amphitheater.  We met at the restrooms at noon for a very humid, yet very shaded stroll.

While the Colleyville Nature Center features 3.5 miles of trails, some are spur trails that lead to neighborhoods and a Braum’s.  As a result, we likely only walked 1.5 miles as we successfully seeked out baby barred owls, baby raccoons, and a hummingbird nest.

While most of our walk followed the 1.2 mile loop that intermittently switched between dirt and pavement beneath a thick canopy of trees, we also took a few detours through the grass around the ponds.  The ponds were a haven for ducks and turtles among other birds. While the May flowers attracted bees, butterflies, and dragonflies.

alltrails map of Colleyville Nature Center Trail

As a nature loving photographer, of course my favorite part of this outing was snapping photos of all the babies.  Some of them did not smile for the camera, however, so it made me wonder how much time I had to come back before the babies fly the coop.  Below is what I found out.

The Baby Barred Owls

When we visited Colleyville Nature Center, we found the baby barred owls in the V of a tree just as we crossed the bridge and neared a bench.  Currently, photographers are staked out, so they would be hard to miss.

The tree was across the creek and the viewing space was limited.  As a result, we only saw one of the two babies since the second one was on the other side of the branch.

The fluffy owl was bigger than I expected!  Especially given it couldn’t even fly yet.  The babies will stay in that tree until they can fly at about 10 weeks of age.  Their parents will hover nearby to protect them and to bring them food.  We spotted both the mom and dad in separate shade trees, also with limited viewing angles.

The family will stay together through the summer until the young ones have weened off feeding.  In the fall, the siblings will strike out on their own.

The Baby Raccoons

We would have never found the raccoons if it weren’t for a photographer with whom we struck up a conversation while we were watching the owls.

The baby raccoons were hidden in a hole high up in a tree off the path where two trails intersect by Peaceful Pond which is in the Owl Woods portion of the nature refuge.

We only saw one head poking out, but I understand there were a few more.  Interestingly, baby raccoons are completely helpless at birth.  They can’t see or hear when they are born and can’t stand until they are five weeks old.  And they don’t venture out of their den until they are approximately 12 weeks old.

baby raccoon in hole in tree in Colleyville Nature Center

They also don’t develop their masks until they are about ten weeks old.  The kits stick with their moms for a year and learn to be nocturnal over time.  While they are helpless as babies, by five months they can hunt their own food with the help of the whiskers they grow on their paws. 

Now I know why we saw so many cute babies hunting in the daylight during my winter visit to the Everglades a few years ago. They are not born nocturnal!

The Baby Hummingbirds

While I’m not a birder, I have always liked cardinals, blue jays and hummingbirds.  It was quite a treat to see several cardinals flitting around the amphitheater, but to see a hummingbird nest is spectacular!  The only time I have seen one was during a stop in Arizona while traveling around the USA for a year.

If I didn’t think we were bothering these sweet hummingbirds, I could have sat at the hummingbird nest all day.  The hummingbird nest is about the size of a demitasse tea cup.  It is made of leaves, plant fibers, twigs, and spider silk.

Hummingbirds build their nest 10 to 90 feet high in leafy trees or bushes.  We were fortunate to find this hummingbird nest so low!  It was nestled on a branch that draped over the trail near the shore of Mill Pond (I think).

To my surprise, it held TWO baby hummingbirds!!! I can’t believe two birds could even fit in there.  Apparently, the female hummingbird lays two eggs the size of navy beans.  They incubate for 15-18 days and then the babies leave the nest 18-28 days after hatching! 

baby hummingbirds in nest at colleyville nature center

There’s not much time to enjoy these beauties, so I feel extremely fortunate to have seen them!

What a great outing with the Hiker Babes at the Colleyville Nature Center!  Had I gone alone, I probably would have missed all of this amazing nature right in my backyard.  It makes me wonder what I pass by everyday on the Northshore Trail where I take my dog to run.  ETB

Best Adventure Travel Blog

If you like this article, please share. Thanks!

Published by

Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

2 thoughts on “Colleyville Nature Center

Leave a Reply