Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hummingbirds have Small Nests

Hummingbird Nest Photo @istockphoto
A hummingbird nest is definitely a sight to behold and a picture of perfection for those who are lucky enough to spot one. The nests are very tiny and so well camouflaged by nature that is is extremely difficult to know they are there. Like any good Mom who is protective of her young, a female hummingbird carefully chooses an ideal and secure location for her nest that is well above the ground and out of the reach of predators such as snakes, ants, and even predatory birds. The nests are expertly sheltered from wind to prevent baby birds from being tossed from their nests in a storm, as well as being sheltered from the sun and rain. The nest typically looks like a knot on a tree limb and from above is virtually invisible due to an umbrella of foliage and leaves which conceal it.

Once the perfect location has been selected, the female then begins the complicated and tedious task of building her nest. She gathers the softest nesting material she can find like moss, lichen, soft plants, pieces of willows, cotton fluffs, and even dryer lint. Female hummingbirds are also known to be little thieves stealing nesting material away from another female's nest. She also gathers spider webs or spider silks which she will use to basically glue all of her nesting material together. The spider webs bind the nesting material giving the nest strength so it won't fall apart and also make it stretchy and flexible giving the baby birds room to grow. She will also use her own body to mold the nest into the exact shape she wants.

Most female will lay two eggs in the nest which will be approximately the size of a navy bean. She will also continuously add nesting material to the nest while awaiting the arrival of her youngsters (about 15 to 18 days). The babies will leave the nest anywhere from 18 to 28 days after they hatch.

An Hummingbird Feeder Makes a Great Gift To Attract Nesting Birds


If you have trees in your backyard, why not try and attract hummingbirds. Maybe they'll nest! Add a feeder early spring. A tree is a good location (it protected the nectar from sun and wind). Consider buying a small birdbath as well. And keep that camera around!

An interesting fact is that these birds have no sense of smell, they are trained as babies to look for the red flowers that have sweet nectar. That's why feeders are red, to attract them to it, and the sweet nectar is similar to the nectar they are used to. Their long bills have evolved to help them extract the nectar from the plants, although some Hummingbirds have a hooked bill.

These birds are territorial and they will fight.

Hummingbirds eat the nectar from certain flowers. Your nectar must contain at least 10% sugar, or they will reject it. The sweeter, the better. For protein and vitamins, they eat insects, including spiders. A mixture of 4 parts water to one part sugar mix is perfect for them.

More Facts About Hummingbirds:

They are one of the smallest and most fascinating of the bird species, hovering in mid air over vibrant flowers consuming their own weight in nectar in any given day. The rapid fluttering of their wings results in a humming sound similar to that of a bee which is how they became known as hummingbirds.

There are approximately 17 different species of hummingbirds in North America and each has their own unique skilled way to build a nest.

Most species measure 3-5". There is a "Bee Hummingbird" (pictured here...from Wikipedia) that measures around 2". It's the smallest living bird.

The giant hummingbird's wings flap 8-12 beats per second. About 600 beats per minute.

The medium-sized hummingbird's wings beat 20-30 beats per second.

The smallest hummingbird's wings can beat as much as 100 beats per second during courtship displays!

If you love hummingbirds or know someone who does, make sure you check these  beautiful gift ideas: Hummingbird Gifts for Home and Garden, Hummingbird Kitchen Decor

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