Hummingbird Nests: Everything You Never Knew

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Consider yourself lucky if you’ve ever seen a hummingbird nest with your own eyes.

These tiny nests, holding even tinier hummingbird eggs, are an engineering marvel and they’re so well camouflaged that you’ve probably walked past one without even knowing. In this post, you’ll learn everything there is to know about hummingbird nests. Including where to find one, what a hummingbird nest looks like, how small they really are, and all about hummingbird eggs.

What does a hummingbird nest look like?

Hummingbird nests are small and cup-sized. The size of the hummingbird nest is proportionate to the size of the hummingbird. Smaller hummingbirds will build nests that are half the size of a walnut shell. Larger hummingbirds will build larger nests.

hummingbird nest size compared to quarter
A hummingbird nest compared to a quarter

What are hummingbird nests made of?

Hummingbird nests are most of often made of soft plant fibers and leaves. They’re held together with spiderwebs that the hummingbird collects.

The spider silk makes the nest very durable and it can last many seasons. In fact, some hummingbird species come back every year to re-use their nests – after rebuilding it a little bit. This is why sometimes a nest can have a “layered” look to it.

Another great benefit of spider silk, is that it makes the nest somewhat elastic, so it can grow accordingly as the hummingbird babies grow.

Some hummingbird nest pictures:

Words can’t do a hummingbird nest justice. Here are a few pictures that can better convey the elegance of them.

hummingbird nest with eggs
hummingbird nest
hummingbird nest with mother feeding babies

Where do hummingbirds nest?

Hummingbirds like to build their nest where there is plenty of overhead cover and foliage to hide their nest. The overhead cover is to protect from rain and the elements and the foliage is to hide the nest from potential predators.

You can find hummingbird nests in forked branches of large trees and small shrubs that are near nectar sources. If you want a hummingbird to nest in your backyard, it’s a good idea to get a good hummingbird feeder. Or plant lots of nectar-producing flowers. Hummingbird vines often provide both nectar and a great nesting spot for hummingbirds.

Of course, as hummingbirds have adapted to human presence, they’ve found creative and odd places to build nests on man-made structures.

Hummingbird nest found in odd locations
Hummingbird nest found in weird spot

How to find a hummingbird nest

Unless you’re very lucky, it’s unlikely you’ll just stumble upon a hummingbird nest.

If you are dead set on seeing on in real life, here’s how I’ve personally found a few hummingbird nests.

First, realize that this might take a while. Find a spot with plenty of nectar sources that are frequented by hummingbirds. If you have a feeder in your backyard, that’s a good place to start.

Then when you see a hummingbird leave the feeder, try to track down where it goes. It may be hard to follow the hummingbird, but eventually it will return to its nest.

I’ve done this successfully a few times, and it was definitely worth the effort to track down the hummingbird nests.

How to help a hummingbird build it’s nest

If you want to increase the chances of a hummingbird building a nest in your own backyard, there are a few steps you can take.

Planting shrubs and trees that provide the hummingbird with soft fibers for nest building is a great start. Plants and trees such as Pussy Willows, Cottonwoods, and Mulberry shrubs are perfect examples.

Growing nectar producing flowers or putting up a hummingbird feeder is another way to attract hummingbirds to your yard.

If you REALLY want a hummingbird to nest in your yard, then consider offering them a nesting material that’s perfect for nest building. The “Hummer Helper” is an all-natural, man-made alternative to soft plant matter. It’s endorsed by the Hummingbird Society and comes in a wire frame hanger that you can hang near your window so you can observe hummingbirds.

Hummingbird Helper Nesting Material
Hummingbird Helper Nesting Material

About author
Robert has been an avid birdwatcher pretty much his entire life. Living in the suburbs he does his best to bring wild birds into his backyard. He currently has 13+ bird feeders in his yard and also raises and races homing pigeons. Robert writes part-time for Wild Yards, mostly about the subject he cares most about - birds.

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