April 2, 2014 5:56 pm
Updated: April 2, 2014 6:00 pm

WATCH: Victoria’s hummingbird live cam a big hit with online audiences

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A live stream of a hummingbird nest in Victoria is attracting hundreds of bird watchers, and the man behind it is now being courted by BBC to help produce a documentary about the tiny birds in Alaska.

Bird photographer Eric Pittman has been observing hummingbirds in his Victoria backyard for years.

A bird that Pittman and his wife affectionately named Sweetiebird was the first one he photographed.

Sweetiebird went on to raise six generations of chicks in his backyard.

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“She just kept on making nests, so she stayed in my yard, and I kept photographing the birds,” says Pittman.

Sweetiebird has since passed away, and has been replaced by Flower, who has had two chicks in Pittman’s backyard that have fledged just 10 days ago and are now the stars of the live stream that broadcasts their daily life to hundreds of people.

Pittman says when he first set up his live cam four years ago, he got half-a-million views.

In all, Pittman filmed about 60 hummingbird nests from egg to flight.

“The nest is the size of a golf ball, and the egg is the size of a coffee bean. When the chicks hatch, they are like a raisin. It is really difficult to photograph, but that is the challenge and that is what I like about it.”

He has amassed a considerable collection of videos and photographs.

Pittman spends anywhere from 20 to 30 hours a week filming the birds, and says he is learning something new about the inner workings of their world every day.

“It is amazing to see how small and helpless they are, but they all react with instinct when they are in the nest. Whenever their mother comes, they stick their heads up, they get the food, and they just know what to do. It is amazing.”

Pittman says a lot of people get really involved with the birds.

“One of the nests got attacked a few years ago and before I got home, I had like 20 emails about it,” he says. “People are really concerned about them for the most part. Once the chicks get bigger and ready to fly, everybody takes it to their heart and they get very involved with it.”

Pittman says as far as he knows, no one else in Canada is filming hummingbirds in real time. And now, BBC wants to borrow his expertise. He was asked to help producers find a hummingbird nest for a documentary they are filming in Alaska.

WATCH: Hummingbird Live Cam

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