Where Do Your Hummingbirds Nest?

I have a couple of Anna’s hummingbirds that make their home year round near my home.

Every day, I receive multiple visits .  The male visits first and then once he leaves, the female shows up for a drink.

Anna's Hummingbird at my kitchen window.

Sometimes if nearby movement frightens one away from the feeder, it rests on my Cascalote tree, which is just a few feet away.

I like to imagine that the female hummingbird has built her nest up in my tree.  I have even scanned the tree with binoculars, but to no avail.  I have not spotted a nest in that tree.  But, she still may have built her nest in my garden.  I have large flowering shrubs and many other trees that would make a great home for a hummingbird family.

When you think about it, it is good that it is so hard to find a hummingbird’s nest.  The more hidden it is, the safer it is from predators.  Now, just because I haven’t spotted any hummingbird nests in my garden, does not mean that I have not seen them in other places.  In fact, I have seen some very well hidden and some that are in some strange places (including on top of a wind chime).  As a child, we had a hummingbird family nest in our backyard lemon tree and my grandparents had a nest in their Hibiscus shrub.

Hummingbird nest in a large potted Ficus by a front door.

As you can see from the photo above, their nests are made up of a combination of spiderwebs, leaves, lichen and  plant fibers.  The composition of the nests has to do with what plant material is nearby.  Hummingbirds are known to use dryer lint and cotton balls in constructing their nests as well.  Their nests are tiny and are approximately the size of half a walnut shell, which makes it easy to miss them.

Female hummingbirds like to build their nests in a secure area that is somewhat protected from wind (so high winds won’t blow the babies out of the nest).  Also leafy protection on the top is also desirable to keep the nest cool.   You will usually find the nest nestled in a crotch or crossed branches for support.  Female hummingbirds are known to ‘borrow’ nesting materials from each other without asking 😉

Last spring, we noticed some hummingbird activity going on in an nearby tree.  As we looked closer, we saw a brown mass in the tree…

Hummingbird nest under construction

As you look more closely, you can see that they incorporated some leaves in the base.

**If you are fortunate enough to see a hummingbird nest, don’t get too close and stay a safe distance away.  But, go ahead and take a photo using your zoom lens :-)

I am still hopeful that I will someday discover a hummingbird nest in my garden.  Meanwhile, I am very thankful that I am able to enjoy their antics 12 months out of the year in my Southwest garden.

Photo: Miksmith

But, if I ever find a hummingbird nest in my garden, I’ll be sure to share it with you all….


**How about you?  Have you ever seen a hummingbird nest?  Where did you find it?  Was it in your garden?  Please share your experience with us!

  1. Jan Martin says

    I live in Anaheim, California and we have had nesting hummingbirds for years now. The hummingbird in our yard likes our ‘Carrot’ tree. It likes to build nests out on a limb but underneath the protection of overhanging branches to protect it from the rain and the sun as well as predators. This last year starting in February 2011 and ending in probably April or May we had three nests this year…by the same hummingbird. So ours seems to start early and end early. I have been told that in our area by the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach that our hummingbirds like to build their nests out over branches over walkways because it keeps the rats away…the branches won’t hold their weight. This year one of those nests was right out over our walkway so we had to be careful to duck our heads not to bump the next…as well as the gardener! It got tricky sometimes. She was fearless. We also had a number of heavy downpours with wind and she just sat on that nest like it was an e-ticket at Disneyland. We could watch the nest from our family room window. What an experience and got to see the whole process up close and personal. I have photos if you would like to see.

    • susan says

      yes please if you have pictures that would be great.. iam in North carolina i havent found any nests we have about 6 of them flying around thank you

  2. Roxanne Busby says

    We have a “hummingbird stick” that we save from year to year. We put it by our front porch, between 2 of our 8 feeders in our acre yard. We live in Houston so our hummers are here in the fall and they love the stick and sit on it every year. It gives a hummer a good view of the feeders. We keep looking for a nest but have yet to see one.

  3. Linda Beckman says

    I’m guessing they might nest in our white pine trees, which I’ve read they like. They dive at the feeders from both directions at the back our house, though.

  4. Joleen Gonser says

    About a dozen years ago, I worked at company that had an open, landscaped area between two glass-walled corridors that connected the building halves. The cafeteria with large windows was in the northern half on the south wall overlooking that area. The open area had a meandering walkway with low shrubs and other plants on each side. Mama hummingbird made her next on a branch about two feet from the ground close to a cafeteria window. We were all awed to watch as the eggs were laid and hatched, and to watch the growth of the babies until they fledged. Mama didn’t seem to mind us being only about two feet away – lots of us! Nor did she mind one lady who came within 2-3 feet to take pictures regularly throughout the entire cycle. This happened in the Serra Mesa area of San Diego, CA.

  5. Karen says

    Forthe last several years we have had hummingbird nests (2 nests per year) in the rose trees outside of our dining room window. The rose trees are the larger variety and located on the side of the house so there is very little traffic. Additionally, we have have had two sets of nests in the azalea tree on our front porch, one after another in the same season. This was directly outside our front door, so we had to go use the garage access for quite a while. We also put up a do not cross ribbon at front of the porch. For some reason the ones on the porch have had twins, and the ones in the rose trees start with two eggs but always end up with one. I do notice finches hanging around the rose trees which we chase off. Why they are so interested I don’t know. We usually have at least two finch nests and one robin nest in our trees annually.

  6. jean says

    I have 3 hummingbird nest at my front door in a potted ficus tree. One nest has 2 eggs in it but I ‘ve never seen the mother.
    I watched one baby sit in one nest then yesterday found a dead hummingbird in the nests. I was so upset til I couldn’t move it.
    I just did this morning it looks like something pecked it one time. I am now making a small bird house hoping they’ll use it. There is another nest at the very top of the tree. I’ve had these birds come here for about 4 years..I keep a feeder in my back yard. hope my luck gets better for them. Thanks for your stories.

  7. mrsgott says

    Many years ago, I was at the local pet store to buy bird seed when a young boy around 10 or 11 came up to me and asked me if I wanted “this” and he opened up his hand and in it was a little naked hummingbird about the size of an olive. It’s eyes were still closed and at first, I thought it was a newborn mouse. I encouraged him to hand it over to the pet store owners and he said he tried and they did not want it. So, I took the little creature home with me and called an avarian vet to get information on how to care for him. I was instructed to use the nectar we purchase at the store along with mushed up insects. I used my blender to whip up hummingbird baby food and fed him with an eye dropper. I kept him in a small bird nest that I had collected years earlier and placed it inside a shoe box to protect him from drafts. He traveled daily with me to and from work, never leaving my side because he needed to eat every 15 minutes with the exception of nighttime.

    The little hummer flourished and when he got old enough to fledge, he would sit on the side of his shoe box while I applied my make-up sitting at the coffee table. He would take off and get tangled in his own wings. I would help him straighten up and off he would go to try again. He finally fledged and would buzz around my head while I was getting ready for work.

    It was at this time that I realized that I could not keep the little hummer. He needed to be outside with his own – but he wasn’t afraid of people and I feared he wouldn’t know to fear cats, etc. My best bet for him was to take him to the wildlife bird sanctuary that was about 50 miles from me. The sanctuary had a huge hummingbird exhibition where you could sit and watch hundreds of hummingbirds come and go. I got up early in the morning and made the drive. The peopled at the sanctuary assured me that they would slowly acclimate the little hummer back into the wild. I cried when I had to leave him behind, but I knew he was in a better place.

    It was a wonderful experience raising this little hummer. I have spent many hours observing hummers over the years and they still are amazing little birds to me.

    • Jeanette says

      Oh, how sweet. So glad that little boy found someone to help the little bird survive.
      There’s a lady in the Stuttgart, AR area who works with hummingbirds. She bands them. Retired biology teacher. She gives sessions at Wild Birds Unlimited in LR, AR sometimes.
      I have a nest that my dad cut off of a branch in San Antonio many yrs. ago after the birds had gone. May have been a mesquite or AZ Ash tree, not sure.

    • Lisa says

      what a fascinating story!!! thank you SO MUCH for sharing about the love and care you provided that little one. you were truly in the right place at the right time and it was meant to be that you came across that young boy (who was a saint too!). what an amazing experience you were blessed to enjoy!!!

  8. Debbie says

    We live in Poway (San Diego.) Ca. We have a back patio where we strung patio lights. We all of a sudden noticed a hummingbird nest that was built on the light cord, on top of one of the lights. It has been fun watching the mom come and go and feeding her two babies. It seems odd that she built her nest about ten feet from the nearest feeder. We presently have six feeders up. There are 20-30 that feed at one time. The other birds don’t pay attention to the nest
    It rained pretty heavy here last night and I had a vision of the nest being gone this morning but I was surprised to see mom feeding her babies as usual and the nest totally intact. One of the babies has been flapping it’s wings today and they both have been poking up their heads and moving about in the nest more.
    It will be sad to see them leave the nest but that’s a good thing. We’ve have had fun watching them grow up.
    There have been two hummers that are light rusty orange in color and very aggressive. Which kind are they? Anyone know?

  9. Rose Dickerson says

    Several years ago (late 1990’s) in Aiken, SC I saw a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird nesting approximately 20 feet high in a small dead tree covered in briar vine. I could not get a very good look at it and I had no camera with zoom capability, but I had binoculars and a screened in back porch to watch. She had at least two broods that summer. ^_^

  10. Kathleen Flaherty says

    I have only found one hummingbird’s nest since we’ve moved out to North Idaho and it was overhanging our creek at the end of a cedar branch. We have four different kinds of hummers here and I know they nest in the yard, as they stay the whole season and the babies are very bold and will readily perch on my fingers. They always appear to me to be a bit slimmer through the neck with speckles under the chin. As of today, I think the last stragglers have gone. It’s at least a week or 10 days earlier than last year and I’m not sure why.

  11. Andrea says

    Hace unos meses vi por primera vez un nido de Humminbird era de un white eared, fue en un bosque nuboso y estaba en un aliso en Sololá, Guatemala, evidentemente para tomar la foto me quedé alejada y le di todo el zoom de mi camara! Una bella experiencia!

  12. Mairead Bertoli says

    We had a momma hummer build her nest and raise her two babies right out in the open on our black wrought iron fence. How we worried over those little ones and one day they were just gone, I prefer to think they flew away and are safe and sound

  13. Debra Lee says

    I have a huge Rose of Sharon bush in my back yard and dozens of camellia bushes and azaleas. With feeders on opposite sides of our deck, I only get one hummer at a time. They do not play well together and tend to chase each other away if another one comes to feed. It amazes me when I see photos of people with dozens of them feeding all in the same location! I’m sure we have a nest or two around the acre+ property, but I’ve never looked for them.

    • Deanna says

      I saw my first “scout” of the season on 3-31-16.. So, I put out a couple of feeders..I saw him again late yesterday, but he didn’t stop to feed…Today, I saw him stop, set, and feed… I am so excited…Can’t wait until the rest show up…I usually go thru a gallon of sugar water every other day…My mother is about 20 miles south east of me and goes thru a gallon a day….We live in NE Texas..

  14. myrna vancleave says

    My cousin in Or. had one make a nest on the wire coming into the house by the patio door.
    They did not use the patio until the babies were gone. Then she sent it to me and after i showed everyone i could think of, i took it to the school in Parkville, Missouri. One of the teachers was a Bird Lady and she showed all the children. I bet they still have it. It is good to share.

  15. Joanna Markley says

    We had a hummingbird nest in our Kwanzan cherry tree last summer. It was right over our front porch, so we would sit and watch her in the evening. She didn’t seem to mind that we would take our bluetooth speaker out with us and listen to music. I watched the baby hummingbird fly away for the first time. I’m hoping that the mother will come back and nest in the same tree this year. We took several good photos of the mother on the nest.

  16. Sandra says

    Two summers ago my grandchildren found a baby hummingbird in their yard. It had fallen from it’s nest, which they discovered near the end of a low hanging limb in a backyard oak tree. Not at all where I would have expected to find a nest. They were able to put the baby back into it’s nest, and watched to see if the mother returned. When she failed to appear, the children made certain the baby had plenty to eat until it was able to fly away. The mother was probably coming when the children weren’t watching. Anyway, the story had a very happy ending, and we were all thrilled to finally see a hummingbird nest. . . and with a baby. The children and their parents credited the event to their great-grandmother, who rescued many little birds during her lifetime. Nana had passed away in March of that year, and we are all certain she had a hand in leading the children to the tiny bird and nest.

  17. Dee winter says

    I was at Reiman Gardens at Iowa State and they had nesting hummers in their butterfly wing. The nest looked like they had 2 small jellybeans in them. I feed the hummers but haven’t found a nest. We have a thicket just west of our house and I see other nests in there but try not to bother them.

  18. sharon bodenschatz says

    I live in oak ridge Missouri and I have never seen a hummingbird nest or oriole . I look each fall when the leaves are gone. I have many birds ,but do not see only robin nest.

  19. Carol says

    I’d never seen a hummer nest till 2 years ago in early spring when an Anna’s mom built one about 6″ from wall of our 1-story house close to front porch on a thick wire coming into house & with an overhang sheltering it. Mom chose an excellent, protected place close to the feeder I have on porch. During nesting time she was extremely aggressive toward other hummers coming to feeder. 2 babies fledged from that nest & I got to watch the fledging. Over the year nest disintegrated & I wondered if she’d return this year. She did, even earlier in Feb & rebuilt nest same place. 2 babies also fledged from this one. We had one big windstorm during the time babies were small & I feared for them & nest, but it held up & they stayed in. I’m hoping mom returns and lays more eggs, as nest still looks to be in good condition. Funny, the area directly behind the nest, the house wall, is blackened by hummer poop, both babies’ and mom’s. That’s how close to house nest is. It’s like a memento so I can’t think it was all a wonderful dream!

  20. Maralyn Chandler says

    On back porch there was a chain stretched across an area and a hummingbird built a nest right in front of the kitchen window. We watched her and her family grow!

  21. Linda Halterman says

    I was sitting in my backyard when I saw a hummingbird fly into her nest in the tree acriss the street about halfway up. I was so fasinated to have seen it happen because it was so tiny!

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