Hummingbirds nests are unique and not like the nests of other birds. However, it protects them and their baby birds from the harsh weather and predators. As each species of bird builds different types of nests for their living, let us have a look at what things the hummingbirds use to build their nests.
What is a hummingbird nest made of?
Hummingbirds nests are made of twigs, plant fibers, leaves, and spider silk. The female hummingbird builds their nest 10 to 90 feet high on the trees by weaving all these things together. Their nests are like compact cups with a velvety texture and sponge floors. Their walls are elastic and stretch as their baby grows.
What does the hummingbird nest look like?
The shape of the hummingbird nest is like a compact cup, and so from the ground, if you look at it, it looks like another bump on the tree. If you look at it from the top, it looks like an umbrella of leaves has concealed it. And if you look at the nest from the side, then it looks like a tiny knot that is quilted with lichens, plants, and fibers.
Here is an amazing video of a hummingbird building its nest from scratch.
How are the nests of different species of hummingbirds made?
Hummingbirds usually start building the nest during their breeding season. In the Southern US the breeding may start in March so they might start building their nests in the hot summer season. On the other hand, some species prefer breeding in the winter season and they build the nest accordingly.
The female hummingbirds build their nests with the help of different natural materials available from nature. Let us look at how each of them builds their nests.
This specie of hummingbirds breed only in the winter season, and the female hummingbird builds her nest while incubating. She makes use of spider silk to tie or bind other materials like plants, feathers, hair, and lichen to make the nest strong and durable. They build their nests on the trees like Eucalyptus, Oak, and Sycamore.
These hummingbirds also have a compact deep cup nest. They make use of plants, spider silk, and cocoon fibers. When their baby grows, the walls of the nests are stretched wider so that they can rest comfortably. The nests built-in cooler areas are thicker than those built-in warmer areas.
These hummingbirds build a large nest directly on the branch of the tree rather than on the fork. Thistle or dandelion are binded together with the help of spider silk and sometimes with the help of pine resin. Once the base is formed, the female hummingbird who is building the nest stamps on it to stiffen it, and the walls remain flexible. The female bird shapes the rim by pressing it between her neck and chest. The outer side of the nest is decorated with small bits of moss and lichen. It takes around 6-10 days for the bird to finish building the nest.
Blue Throated Hummingbird
The nests of these hummingbirds are built using spider silk, animal hair, plant fiber, spider egg sac, and cocoons on the inner sides of the nests. The outer side of the nest is covered with moss, plant matter, and bark. If these nests are built in drier areas, they may contain little or no moss. Also, the female hummingbirds may use the old nest’s materials to build the new one.
These birds nests are built about 3 feet off the ground and rarely up to 10 feet on the downward hanging branch, near rocky outcrops of the stream. The nest seems like small cups, woven using grasses, leaves, bark strips, spiderwebs, and sometimes camouflage.
The female birds build the tiny cup-shaped nests alone. They make use of spiderwebs and gossamer for the inner side of the nest so that they can conserve heat in the cold nights at high altitudes. For the outer side, they use lichen, moss, and bark fragments. These female birds usually sit in the nest and twist the materials around their body and feet to build a cup-shaped nest. It may take around 4-5 days to build the nest, and if it is built on the existing ones, it may take fewer days. Actually, sometimes the female birds reuse the old nest, add fresh materials, and make it like a new one.
These birds usually build up to 4 nests on top of one another and are often attached to a conifer cone. The female birds build a soft and cozy cup-shaped nest with plant materials and the outer side of the nest with moss and lichen. The birds may reuse the nests or use the materials to build the new ones.
These female species build their nests 3-7 feet above the ground in the trees like acacia, cholla, ironwood, gray thorn, Palo Verde, and other shrubs. They build the nests mostly in the open areas with no vegetation cover. For building the nests, they use bark stripes, bits of lichen, small leaves, drowny parts of flowers from the sunflower family. All these materials are loosely woven to form a cup-shaped nest.
The female hummingbird of this species starts building their nest after they arrive on the breeding ground. They build their nests at the height of 3 feet in the deciduous or coniferous trees like the Douglas-fir, hemlock, pines, Sitka spruce, western red cedar, maples, birch, thimbleberry, and very rarely on the vines and ferns. Their nests are built using spiderwebs, lichen, moss, and bark. These nests can be reused next year, but not necessarily by the same bird who has built the nest.
How do the nest materials help the hummingbirds?
As the nesting materials are available in different sizes and shapes, they help the bird build a firm nest on the trees where they can rest and lay their eggs. These nests also protect them from their predators.
The female hummingbirds use spiderwebs to hold the material tightly to each other. The twigs, leaves, drowning parts of the flowers are used on the inner side to build a firm base and inner side of the nest, whereas bits and lichen on the outer side protect them from the predators in the sky due to their green color, which matches the leaves and keeps them hidden.
The nest is the place where birds can rest for a while. It also protects the birds from the weather and predators. Each species of hummingbird takes its own time to build the nest with sometimes different materials. Also, the preference for trees on which they want to build the nest may vary as per the species. I hope this article has given you the knowledge of what the nest of different hummingbirds is made of.