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Can Hummingbird eggs survive without their mother?

Can Hummingbird eggs survive without their mother?

Like a human baby, even juvenile hummingbirds need their mother’s warmth in their growing age. Their mother would be there to feed, take care of them and protect them from predators. Now, this is all about the baby birds that are born, but what happens with the eggs? Do they need their mother around? Can they survive on their own? Continue reading this article to specifically know about hummingbirds and their eggs.

In which situations do the hummingbird leave their eggs?

During the breeding season, you might notice hummingbirds incubating the eggs if they have built their nest near your house. In this season, you might also see some nests with tiny eggs in them, but there are no parent birds in it. So where does the parent bird goes? Why have they left their eggs in the nest? There might be some reasons behind such behavior of parent hummingbird.

Here are some of the reasons that make hummingbirds leave their nests with eggs in them.

Wander in search of food

Parent hummingbirds have to wander in search of food frequently to get the energy for flying and also to create warmth for their eggs. They tend to stay away from their nest for at least half an hour. So, if you notice only the eggs in the nest with no parent bird nearby, then there are chances that the mother bird has gone searching for food.

Draw the attention of the predators

Some hummingbirds lay their eggs and intentionally leave their nests so that no predators notice them. Hummingbird eggs are very tiny and can hardly be noticed from far, so if the parent birds are away from the nest for a few days, it decreases the chances of eggs being destroyed by the predators. Hence to protect their eggs, they stay away but keep monitoring their nest.

There is time for incubating eggs

Hummingbirds lay 2 eggs in the breeding season and incubate both eggs together. So, even if they have laid one egg, they will wait for the second one. Therefore, for the time being, they might leave the nest with one egg as they feel no need to sit in their nest.

Sometimes you might also find 2 eggs in the nest without any parent bird because the hummingbird parents start incubating the eggs after 20 days. Until then, both parents wander in search of food. But during the incubation period, only the male hummingbird search for food for himself, and the female bird incubates in the nest.

Predators killed parent birds

All the birds, including the tiniest birds, have a fear of being attacked by predators. So if the parent bird has left the nest a long time ago and hasn’t returned yet, then there are chances that the parent bird is being attacked by predators like cats, raccoons, foxes, and larger birds like hawks.

Hence, during the incubation period, if the predator attacks the female hummingbird, then the male hummingbird leaves the nest as they can’t incubate the eggs. And if the predator kills the male hummingbird, then the female hummingbird has to incubate the eggs and search for food for herself. As the female bird has to put a lot of effort into incubating the eggs, in very rare cases the female bird will judge that she can’t handle incubating and feeding alone and might leave the nest and give up the brood.

They are scared by humans and other predators

Hummingbirds mostly stick to their nest, no matter what the situation is. They usually don’t leave their nest, even if anyone tries to scare them away. But if they feel that they are harassed or disturbed a lot by humans or any predators, then they tend to leave the nest without incubating the eggs.

As hatching the eggs and raising the baby bird require a lot of effort, therefore if the female hummingbird feels that even after hatching the eggs there is a danger for her and her kids, then she will quickly fly away and not spend time in incubating the eggs.

Infestation of insects

Suppose the hummingbird’s nest is infested with ants, mites or flies. In that case, it becomes very uncomfortable and unbearable for the female bird to incubate the eggs. So in this situation, there are chances that the hummingbird might abandon the nest and move to a new safe place.

Can Hummingbird eggs survive without their mother’s warmth?

The survival of the eggs without their mother depends on which incubation phase the egg is. If the hummingbird has recently laid the eggs, then those eggs can survive up to 48 hours without their mother’s warmth; as the egg is still an embryo without any vital organs, it is dormant till proper warmth is provided.   

When the egg’s development process starts, the embryo inside the egg will start forming the eyes, limbs and other organs. In this stage, the egg can stay for only a few hours without its mother’s warmth. And if this growing process is disturbed, then it can be fatal for the egg.

When its almost the end of the incubation period and the mother is not near, at this time the egg can survive without its mother’s warmth for 1-2 days. As the bird inside the egg is fully developed, it can produce the heat on its own for survival.

Can you hatch abandoned hummingbird eggs?

No, you shouldn’t hatch the hummingbird eggs on your own as it is an illegal act, and only those with permits/licenses can hatch the eggs of wild birds.

Also, its a bit tricky and difficult to hatch the bird’s egg in a normal room. If the egg is abandoned, it might be cold for a long time and not viable. And even the egg is viable, they require a specific room temperature and humidity. Also, the eggs need to be turned at specific intervals.

Therefore such eggs must be handed to the wildlife rehabbers as they have detailed knowledge about the hatching process. They will hatch the eggs and provide the baby birds with proper food.

What should you do if you find abandoned hummingbird eggs?

In case you have found abandoned hummingbird eggs, then kindly do the below things:

  • First, keep monitoring the eggs for at least a month before concluding that it is abandoned.
  • Keep your pets, such as dogs and cats, indoors as they might scare the birds away and also might cause harm to the eggs if the nest is built at a low height.
  • You can call the local wildlife rehabber for advice, or else you can call them to the location and then they would decide what to do further.

What you shouldn’t do if you find abandoned eggs?

If you find abandoned eggs, then there are certain things that you should avoid doing as follows:

  • Don’t move the abandoned eggs to the other nest or move the entire nest to a new location.
  • Avoid going much closer to the nest as it might scare the parent birds away if they are sitting in the nearby area of their nest.
  • Avoid touching or picking the tiny eggs, as they can easily get damaged.


Every bird’s egg needs its mother’s warmth for a certain time during incubation until they fully develop. I hope this article has helped you understand how long the hummingbird eggs can survive without their mother and what you should and shouldn’t do if you find an abandoned egg on the ground or in your backyard.