Few sights in nature can match the mesmerizing dance of the hummingbird. These tiny, delicate birds captivate us with their vibrant plumage, ethereal flight and complex behavior. Yet the metamorphosis of the baby hummingbird from its fragile nest to the boundless sky is a testament to the wonders of nature.

1. What season are baby hummingbirds born?

Baby hummingbirds are usually born in the spring or early summer, typically between March and July in North America. Depending on the specific region and hummingbird species, the time of birth varies slightly. For example, in warmer climates, such as the southern United States or the tropics, hummingbirds may breed and give birth earlier.

hummingbird

2. How many eggs do hummingbirds have?

Hummingbirds usually lay very small clutches of eggs, usually 1 to 3 eggs per clutch, depending on the species. However, it is more common to lay an average of two eggs per clutch. The number of eggs laid may also be affected by factors such as environmental conditions and food availability.

Below are examples of the number of eggs laid by some common hummingbird species:

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird: This species usually lays 2 eggs per clutch, but it is not uncommon for it to lay 1 or 3 eggs.

Anna's Hummingbird: Calypte Anna usually lays 2 eggs per clutch, but occasionally lays 1 egg.

Rufous Hummingbird: The red hummingbird usually lays 2 eggs per clutch, occasionally 1 or 3.

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird: Broad-tailed hummingbirds usually lay 2 eggs per clutch, but occasionally lay 1 or 3 eggs.

3. What are baby hummingbirds size?

Hummingbird chicks are very small when they hatch. Their exact size varies by species, but they are usually the size of a fudge or even smaller. The average length of a newborn hummingbird is between 0.5 and 0.75 inches (1.3 and 1.9 cm). Despite their small size, hummingbirds grow rapidly in the weeks after hatching as they voraciously feed on the nectar and insects provided by their parents.

baby hummingbird

4. What do baby hummingbirds eat?

Baby hummingbirds feed primarily on regurgitated nectar and insects provided by their parents. The nectar provides them with essential carbohydrates, while the insects provide them with protein and fat necessary for growth and development.
Parent hummingbirds catch insects such as small flies, spiders and other tiny arthropods to feed their young. They collect nectar from flowers and then pour the nectar into the mouths of the chicks along with the insects. This food provides the necessary nutrients for the rapid growth of baby hummingbirds until they are ready to fledge and begin foraging for food on their own.

5. Baby hummingbirds survival rate

The survival rate of baby hummingbirds varies depending on a variety of factors, such as environmental conditions, food availability, predation and human disturbance. However, it is estimated that only a small percentage of baby hummingbirds succeed in surviving to adulthood.
Under natural conditions, the mortality rate of baby hummingbirds is quite high, with estimates ranging from 60% to 80% or more. There are many reasons for this high mortality rate, including

baby hummingbirds and parents


Inadequate food supply

If the parent hummingbird doesn't find enough nectar or insects to feed its young, the chicks may not get enough nutrients and starve to death.

Predation

Hummingbird chicks are susceptible to predation by large birds, snakes, rodents and other animals that may raid their nests.

Adverse weather conditions

Extreme weather such as storms, high winds or prolonged rainfall can pose a significant challenge to the survival of baby hummingbirds, especially if their nests are exposed or poorly constructed.

Diseases and parasites

Hummingbird chicks are susceptible to diseases and parasites that can weaken their immune systems and lead to increased mortality.

Nest disturbance

Human activities such as habitat destruction, landscaping, or nest disturbance can damage nesting sites and increase stress on hummingbird parents, which may affect the survival of their offspring.

hummingbird's nest

6. Baby birds flying

The transformation of baby hummingbirds from tiny, helpless hatchlings to agile, airborne adults is incredible. Here is a basic introduction to the process of baby hummingbirds learning to fly.

Hatchling stage

Baby hummingbirds, also known as chicks or fledglings, hatch from tiny, delicate eggs and incubate for about 14 to 21 days, depending on the species of hummingbird. When they are born, they are incredibly small and unattached, like tiny jellies with sparse down feathers.

Growth and development

Over the next few weeks, baby hummingbirds grow rapidly under the care of their parents. They are fed nectar and insects to provide the nutrients they need to grow and develop. As they grow, their feathers gradually replace their downy feathers and they become more active and alert.

Hummingbird


Feathering

The chicks leave the nest for the first time and begin to explore their surroundings. Baby hummingbirds usually fledge when they are 18 to 28 days old, but this can vary depending on factors such as species and environmental conditions. Before fledging, they usually perch on the edge of the nest or on a nearby branch, flapping their wings to build up their strength and prepare for flight.

First flight

The first flight is an important milestone for baby hummingbirds. Encouraged by their parents, baby hummingbirds take to the skies for the first time, circling and flying for short periods of time, learning to control their flight muscles and coordination. At first, their flight may be awkward and erratic, but with practice, they soon improve their flying skills.

Practice and mastery

After their initial flight, baby hummingbirds continue to practice and perfect their flight abilities. They play in the air, chasing insects and exploring their surroundings. With each flight, they become more skillful, eventually achieving the agility and speed characteristic of adult hummingbirds.

Independence

As baby hummingbirds become more skillful fliers, they gradually detach from their parents and become more independent. They will leave the nest in search of food and territory farther away, honing their skills in preparation for adulthood.

Baby Hummingbird

7. Conclusion

From hatchlings to masters of flight, hummingbirds undergo a process of resilience, adaptation to their environment and triumph over adversity. The baby hummingbird embodies the resilience of life itself as it is nurtured and relentlessly pursued by its parents.

 

April 09, 2024 — Stella Huang

Leave a comment