Hummingbird Mating

Attracting A Mate

Hummingbird mating is an amazing event to watch. The male Hummingbird in his quest to attract a mate puts on an elaborate aerial show. Afterwards the female sets out raising baby birds alone.

(You will find links to more info related to this topic in the right column or bottom of page.)

The “G’s” to “Zee’s” of Hummingbird Mating

First, the male stakes out a territory that will provide a source of food and safe place to raise baby Hummingbirds. While he must constantly defend his turf the male Hummingbird must also work at finding a mate.

The Hummingbird mating process is a simple but dramatic affair.

The female Hummingbird sits quietly on a branch waiting for the male to impress her with visual and audio displays.

The male makes a series of impressive deep arcing swoops to catch her attention.

The visual display is accentuated by flashing colours created by his “gorgets”

The “gorgets” are flat iridescent feathers around the neck, that flash brightly when the sun is reflected on them at certain angles.

Consequently, the more he swoops and dives, the greater the number of angles the sun can catch the brilliant colours of his feathers.

The better the show, the better the chances of catching the attention of the female.

"Gorgets", Enticing As Diamonds

Perhaps one could suggest that for the female Hummingbird, the male’s gorgets are the diamonds of their world. Although “Gorgets are a female Hummingbird's best friend” just doesn’t seem to have the same ring as “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”.

Just like humans, the female Hummingbird enjoys being serenaded.

To this end the male adds to his arsenal of weapons for attracting females by “singing”.

As he swoops about displaying the rich colors of gorgets he chirps, buzzes and "zees".

The whole process of Hummingbird mating seems very arduous for such little creatures, especially when you consider that Hummingbirds do not mate for life. Each spring after migrating from their winter habitat, the male must start the whole process over again.

A note about the “Gorgets”: Although the gorgets are used during Hummingbird mating, they have another purpose. They are like human fingerprints. The pattern created by the gorgets is different on each Hummingbird. They are used to make a statement in territorial disputes.

After the mating process is completed, the female will drive the male away and his participation in the process is finished until mating season the next year.

Awesome Video of Male Hummers Singing and Dancing to Attract Mates

 You will need Adobe Flash Player to watch this video. If you are on a device that does not support this player then you can watch it here.

Hummingbird Nesting:

“A Female Hummingbird’s Work is Never Done”

The female prefers to build the nest, incubate the eggs, raise the young and defend her territory by herself. She may even chase the male away. Attracting  males is now out of season for her!

The hummingbird nest the females constructs is about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches wide on the outside diameter. This of course depends on the species, some will be smaller and some larger.

This tiny compact nest is made of various nesting material depending on the area where the female Hummer is living. Some use plant down, plant fibers, lichen, small animal bones and most species use spider silk to hold their nest together.

Please watch a female Anna's Hummingbird construct her beautiful nest in the video below.

Size Of A Penny

A penny could fit in the inside of a nest and cover three eggs. Most Hummingbirds only lay two white eggs in their nests. Nests are often built on a horizontal branch of a tree or bush that provides dense cover.

Incubation lasts for about two and a half weeks. Then the mother begins the three-week stage of feeding, protecting and raising baby birds for fledge day.

Some females have been known to return to the very same nest year after year. But instead of house cleaning last years nest, she will build a complete new one right on top of the old one. This can result in a pile of three or four nests.

Take a look at some interesting locations the females have chosen for nesting here.

You can help supply nesting material for Hummingbirds & other wild birds, see a selection here.

Diet For Raising Baby Birds

At first the female feeds her young a diet of insects. This will mean less activity around your Hummingbird feeder.

But once the youngsters start flying, the action at feeders will be constant. In fact, in mid-summer our backyard often resembles a busy airport with the constant arrival and departure of the hummers.

They swoop and dive about the yard giving us hours of entertainment.

Not to mention what has gone on before with the Hummingbird mating ritual, nesting and raising baby birds. 

Annas Female Hummingbird Video

A beautiful video of a female Annas Hummingbird meticulously crafting her nest.

Animal Homes: The Nest

A hummingbird builds a nest of plant fibers and spiderwebs!Animal Homes tomorrow 4/8 on #NaturePBS on PBS

Posted by Nature | PBS on Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Become A Backyard Bird Expert

        Would you like to be a bird expert able to:

  • Know by sight all the birds that visit your backyard?
  • Identify the birds you hear on a walk?
  • Answer your Grandkids or friends question, "What bird is that?".

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More Interesting Information About Hummingbirds here & In Sidebar above

  • Attracting Hummingbirds is not that hard. There are ways to make attracting these beautiful little birds to your backyard easier for hours of enjoyment.
  • Hummingbirds’ Migration is a marvel when you think about the tiniest bird on the planet, flying thousands of miles each year and not just once but twice. How do they do it against the wind, inclement weather and find enough food?
  • Hummingbird Habitat is vastly varied, spanning a diverse set of geographic areas. Tiny creatures with mighty spirits!

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