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.
She is busy and "single" minded about raising her family.
The nest the female constructs is about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches wide on the outside diameter, depending on the type of Hummingbird.
This of course depends on the species, some will be smaller and some a little larger.
A quarter will barely cover the outside circumference of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird's nest!
The inside is the
penny could fit in the inside of a nest and cover three eggs. (Although most Hummingbirds only lay two eggs.)
The eggs are equivalent to the size of white beans.
The Hummingbird nest is a tiny compact nest made of various nesting materials depending on the area where the female Hummer is living.
The outside of the nest and the part that attaches the nest to the base where the nest will sit, are made with sturdy materials, such as bud pods, small animal bones, plant fibers and small sticks.
For the inside lining of the nest softer materials will be used like plant down and finer plant fibers.
Most species of Hummingbirds will weave spider silk into the materials they choose, to hold their nest together and making it stretchy.
This ability to "grow" allows the nest to accommodate the baby birds as they grow larger.
Spider silk is very strong and durable. Probably the reason some Hummingbirds are able to add a new nest on top of an existing nest year after year.
Scientific American when talking about spider silk states on their website that -
The different silks have unique physical properties such as strength, toughness and elasticity, but all are very strong compared to other natural and synthetic materials.
A dragline strand is several times stronger than steel, on a weight-for-weight basis, but a spider's dragline is only about one-tenth the diameter of a human hair.
You have to admit, that is strong!
Often lichen will be attached to the outside of the nest for camouflage. You can see an example below!
cattail fluff, mildweed & cottonwood down
leave some twigs, leaves, dry grasses and other natural material lying around in your yard for birds to use
* cotton absorbs and holds moisture which is not good for baby birds
aluminum tin foil
plastic of any kind
dryer lint breaks up when wet, then crumbles when it dries
Nests are often built on a horizontal branch of a tree or bush that provides dense cover.
But other locations are chosen too. See examples below.
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!
After an incubation period with the Mom sitting on the eggs that lasts for about two and a half weeks, then the tiny Hummingbird babies hatch.
They are altricial babies which means they are born almost completely without feathers or down.
Baby Hummingbirds are completely reliant on the mother to keep them warm, fed and safe.
The mother then begins the three-week stage of feeding, protecting and raising baby birds for fledge day.
At first the female feeds her young a diet of insects.
This will mean less activity around your Hummingbird feeder.
But this nutritious high protein diet will help the babies to grow a feather coat to keep themselves warm and eventually enable them to fly.
It just takes a few more weeks and they are sitting outside the nest waiting for their Mom to bring their food.
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 Hummingbird nests were built.
What with the defending of territory and mating rituals, backyard spaces are a real "humdinger" of busy places!
A beautiful video of a female Annas Hummingbird meticulously crafting her nest.