Hummingbirds are nothing less than a miracle. Being the smallest bird species in the world, you can only imagine how tiny their eggs might be. Ornithophiles always have a fascination with observing hummingbird babies and their gradual growth. If you are a curious enthusiast, this article gives you a clear insight into everything you need to know about hummingbird babies.
Hummingbirds are found in different sizes. Among them, more than 350 species reside in the Western Hemisphere that displays unique characteristics. If you are wondering how big is a hummingbird baby? Well, hummingbird babies vary in size as well. Although egg sizes vary between species, a hummingbird baby usually measures one inch long and weighs only 62 grams when it hatches.
Hummingbirds are precious. But, did you know how our flutter friends grow to be such wonderful creatures?
As mentioned earlier, there are over 350 species of hummingbirds. With variations in their physiology, the eggs also vary in size. The smallest hummingbird, the Bee hummingbird, lays very tiny eggs. Upon hatching, they only measure up to two and a quarter inches long. While the largest hummingbird, Patagona Gigas gives birth to larger chicks.
The Ruby-throated hummingbird is exquisite. They have a unique nesting habit and lay very tiny eggs. Hummingbird nests have an open-cup shape and are found in deciduous and pine forests. However, you can even find their nests in gardens, especially if you have a feeder installed. Female ruby-throated hummers lay 1 – 3 eggs about two to three days apart and are 0.3 × 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) in size. In addition, females display very protective behavior and take very short breaks for feeding and chasing threats away. The incubation starts from the first day, although the hatching begins 10 to 16 days later.
The babies are primarily born blind and cannot move. Typically, the mother feeds them one to three times an hour at regular intervals. Although their development depends on a wide range of factors, including the availability of food, the babies are often ready to leave the nest after 18 to 31 days.
Selasphorus platycercus or the Broad-tailed hummingbird is one of the many species of hummingbirds. Native to the region of highland regions from the western United States and Western Canada to Mexico and Guatemala. An adult broad-tailed hummingbird male weighs around 3.6 grams, while the females are larger. In addition, the female broad-tailed hummer usually lays two eggs that are 1.2–1.5 centimeters in size, with an incubation period of 16 to 19 days.
The usual breeding grounds for a Rufous Hummingbird include shrubby areas, forest openings, yards, etc. A female Rufous hummer starts to nest within 3 days of arrival to their destination. She usually lays 2-3 eggs that are 0.3 inches in size. Besides, it has an incubation period of 15-17 days.
Archilochus Alexandri or the black-chinned hummingbird is found in streamside, towns, brushy areas, oak groves, etc. These species of hummers have an incubation period of 13-16 days. In addition, they lay a cluster of 2 eggs and the females usually are the ones to incubate the chicks until they hatch. The egg length is usually 0.3 inches in size. However, the chicks after hatching are a one-quarter inch long, with eyes still closed.
Now that you know how the size of hummingbird babies varies among different species, you can now go further with your research and get a clear insight into the various types of sizes. However, the general size of a hummingbird is approximately 0.62 grams or roughly the size of a jelly bean.
Hummingbirds typically lay eggs in May. However, depending on the geography, they can lay several eggs throughout the year. Moreover, migratory hummers lay eggs within 5 days upon reaching the destination and not during migration.
While the oval-sized eggs are laid close to each other, the mother incubates the eggs between 96 and 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. 37 °C) for longer hours to ensure better chances of survival. However, they are quite careful not to overheat them. The incubation period starts after the second is laid and lasts up to 14 to 18 days.
Besides, two to three eggs have a better chance of survival since they rely on each other’s heat. Single eggs often receive less heat and upon hatching are naked and unable to survive alone.
After hatching, the mother cleans the chicks and removes the shells from the nest. If you are a bird watcher, you can surely spot some shells lying on the ground. You can keep it as a souvenir! The chicks in this stage usually weigh around 0.62 grams and are less than 1 inch (2.54 cm) in length. Babies are born blind and naked and rely heavily on their mothers and siblings for warmth. In 14 days, the chicks are completely covered in pin feathers and the eyes begin to open. By day 18, the pin feathers are completely gone. After 24 days, the hummingbird babies grow very large.
Watch this video to know more about the stages of a hummingbird baby.
Looking at the size of an adult hummingbird, we can only imagine how tiny a hummingbird egg can be. Among the 350 species of Hummingbirds found all over the world, the size often varies. For example, the Bee hummingbird, the smallest among its species, lays eggs that are as tiny as coffee beans.
Hummingbird babies are very precious. Being a bird lover, you might be tempted to touch. But should you touch it? Well, no. You should never separate hummingbird eggs or chicks from their nest. Besides, the mothers mostly stay in the nest and may even attack you. However, if you find abandoned chicks on the ground, be gentle while picking them up. Besides, hummingbirds have strong feet, so if you find them gripping something, do not try to take it out as it may only break its tiny feet. Keep the chick warm, and do not try to feed it. Instead, get in touch with any animal helpline nearby.