Hummingbird Nest Identification Tips

So, you’re a bird enthusiast, and you have recently taken an interest in finding a hummingbird nest, but you don’t exactly know what they look like. This guide will show you how to find these nests. There are over 350 species in the hummingbird family, and about seventeen make their home in the United States.

The female hummingbirds take the responsibility of taking care of their young ones. However, not all hummingbird species have the same nesting habits. Want to know what a hummingbird nest looks like? Read on. 

Key Points 

  • Hummingbird nests are hard to spot because hummingbirds are experts in camouflaging their nests. 
  • Hummingbird nests are incredibly small. This adds a level of difficulty in locating their nests. 
  • Hummingbirds build their nests about 10-40 feet off the ground. 

What Does a Hummingbird Nest Look Like? 

Hummingbird Nest

Let’s get right to it and answer the big question in this article. One of the ways to identify a hummingbird’s nest is by knowing the materials these tiny birds use in making their nest. Hummingbirds use common materials in making their nest, including feathers, cotton fiber, moss, lichen, plants, thistles, and many more. 

The mother hummingbirds intricately weave these materials, using them to form a cup-shaped structure. So, when you look for a hummingbird nest, the typical structure you should look out for is a cup-shaped nest.

Because hummingbirds are very private, they like to camouflage their nests. The female hummingbirds will use materials such as lichen and moss to camouflage the outer structure. 

Hummingbird Nest: How To Find One

Now that you know what a hummingbird nest looks like, it’s time to find it. As you set out on your journey to find a hummingbird nest, have it at the back of your mind that it will be a very difficult task. This is because hummingbirds are experts at camouflaging their nests. They deliberately make it very hard for predators to find their nests. 

However, if you are desperate enough, you may be lucky to find one. The best place to start looking is on thin, forked branches. Hummingbirds make their nests look like tree knots. You may have just found a hummingbird nest if you see something like a knot. 

Hummingbird Nest

To find a hummingbird nest, you need to be a keen observer of these expert flyers. Stay from a distance and observe if a female hummer regularly visits a spot in a tree. The females will lurk around the site during the construction of the nest. Depending on how lucky you are, you may spot a female going about to forage for construction materials. If you see her during this process, she may lead you to her nest. 

You can also invest in getting some premade hummingbird nest kit. The hummingbirds may come to take the materials they need from your kit, allowing you to see where they go to make their nests. Also, when hummingbirds can get the required materials for their nest close by, there is a high chance that they’d build their nests close to the source of the material. 

Hummingbirds Nest Placement

If you are going to identify a hummingbird nest, you need to know the kind of trees that they build upon. Hummingbird females like to make their nests on descending tree branches. Their favorite trees for nesting are oak, birch poplar, hackberry, and hornbeam. 

They build their nests about ten to forty feet off the ground and sometimes make them on chains and extension cords. This is a common sight in places where there isn’t enough forest for trees. 

Hummingbirds are small, so naturally, their nests are small too. Also, the size of a hummingbird egg is the size of a pea which means that they don’t particularly need very large nests. The hummingbird nest is the size of a thimble and is built on top of a branch. The nest is held down by spider silk or pine resin. How cute is that? 

The females make the walls of the nest soft, but they prefer to make the floor of the nest stiff. So, they stamp on the floor until it is stiff and can hold their babies without breaking. It takes the female hummingbird about six to ten days to finish her nest, and the nest dimensions are one inch deep and two-inch across. 

Hummingbird Nesting Season

Knowing the nesting season of hummingbirds is a good way to find their nests. However, their nesting differs based on location. For example, in the southern part of the United States, the hummingbird breeding season begins once it is March.

However, if you live in the cooler northern parts of the United States, their breeding season may not start until July. The breeding season of hummingbirds also differs depending on the species. Anna’s hummingbird starts its nesting when the first winter rain falls in November. 

How To Tempt Hummingbirds To Nest In Your Yard 

If you have gone out into the woods to look for a hummingbird’s nest and came back with zero success, don’t worry, you can still get to see them by tempting them to build nests in your yard. Hummingbird nests are camouflaged and very difficult to see. But, if they won’t let you find them, you can make them come to you! 

One of the best ways to tempt these small but smart avian creatures to build nests in your yard is through food. It would help if you learned how to make hummingbird food and nectar. It is very easy to make once you have some sugar and water. The mixture ratio is one part table sugar and four parts water. 

You can place the feeder where they can easily spot it and close enough to some shrubs which the hummingbirds can use for hiding. This is a great way to get hummingbirds to build in your yard because once they have access to a source of food, there is a high chance that they’d want to make their nest close to the food source. 

Alternatively, you can tempt hummingbirds to build in your yard by planting their favorite flowers. Hummingbirds are attracted to brightly colored flowers. Hummingbirds can’t resist flowers such as cardinal flowers, flowering tobacco, Fuschia, and honeysuckle. You can employ this tactic and still make their nectar to increase your chances of getting them to nest in your yard. 

What To Do When You Spot A Hummingbird Nest 

Yes, we understand that hummingbird nests are irresistibly cute, and you are not sure you can resist the urge to pick up a nest when you see one. So, what do you do when you spot a hummingbird nest? The simple answer is to leave it alone. It is illegal to tamper with a bird’s nest. If you must watch the nest, do it from a distance. 

The females of hummingbirds are skittish. If they see you come too close to their nests, there is a high chance that they will abandon the nest. This will result in abandonment and the eventual death of the chicks. Don’t risk harming the chicks by getting too close to the nest. 

How Long Do Hummingbird Chicks Stay In Their Nests? 

Hummingbirds follow the path of other bird species regarding how long they stay in their nests. Many bird species don’t stay in their nests for too long. This also applies to our colorful hummingbird friends. The female lays the eggs and spends the next two weeks sitting on eggs. She leaves for a few hours to eat and comes back to resume sitting on her eggs. 

When the eggs are hatched, the female feeds the babies after building the nest. By the end of their first week of life, hummingbird chicks develop their first real feathers. And, by three weeks, they are ready to leave their mother’s nest. Within the same breeding season, the females may get pregnant and lay two eggs. 

Do Hummingbirds Reuse Their Nests

The nest of hummingbirds are very fragile and will likely not last for more than one breeding season. Anna’s hummingbird, a species of hummingbird, sometimes uses the materials from their old nest to build a new nest entirely. Hummingbirds also don’t nest in the same spot as before. So, if you are interested in seeing a hummingbird nest, you need to know that they usually change location after one breeding season.

However, they may attempt to build a second nest in your yard if you provide them with a source of good nectar. But it won’t be in the same spot. 

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