15 Amazing Baby Hummingbird Facts and Pictures
Baby hummingbirds are beyond adorable! Learn what a baby hummingbird looks like, how long they stay in the nest and what they eat.
Courtesy Pete Ritz
Facts About Baby Hummingbirds
For many birders, hummingbirds returning to their backyards is one of the most exciting events of the year. It’s always a delight to see the tiny flying jewels zipping about from flowers to sugar water feeders. But seeing a baby hummingbird? Well, that’s even better. Here’s what you need to know about baby hummingbirds, including when you can expect to see them, how long they stay in the nest and what they eat. Plus, check out adorable pictures of baby hummingbirds.
Discover the heartwarming story that happened when a birder found a hummingbird nest.
Courtesy Rick Hess
What Time of Year Are Baby Hummingbirds Born?
This timing may depend on the hummingbird species present in an area, but in general, hummingbirds’ breeding season usually occurs in late spring. Chicks typically take four to five weeks to go from eggs to fully fledged, so they’d be leaving the nest in summertime. In most cases, baby hummingbirds are born in late spring or early summer. A hummingbird mom may start making a new nest for a second brood while still monitoring the first.
“I was fortunate to be able to photograph this female ruby-throated hummingbird (above) feeding her two babies at the nest in Newville, Pennsylvania,” Birds & Blooms reader Rick Hess says.
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Courtesy Monica Slack
How Long Do Baby Hummingbirds Stay in the Nest?
From egg to fully fledged, about five weeks. The female hummingbird incubates her eggs for about two weeks before they hatch, and the chicks fledge around three weeks later (they start to test their wings 15 or so days after being born).
“This photo (above) was taken of two babies about two days before they decided to fly. I watched the nest from afar until they were bigger, as not to disturb their mother. I was hoping to catch them during their first flight, but didn’t have much luck. The smaller of the two returned to the nest for three days after its sibling departed,” Birds & Blooms reader Monica Slack says.
Don’t miss more super cute pictures of baby birds.
Courtesy Greg Griffin
How Many Babies Do Hummingbirds Have?
A typical hummingbird clutch consists of two eggs.
“Last spring, my wife and I were lucky enough to discover a hummingbird nest in one of our trees. We were weeding under the tree, and mama hummingbird kept buzzing around us. Then we saw why! We were fortunate to be able to watch the entire process – from seeing the two tiny eggs, watching them hatch and grow, and finally having an empty nest,” Birds & Blooms reader Greg Griffin says.
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Courtesy Linda Schoenherr
What does a Baby Hummingbird Look Like?
For most species, including ruby-throated hummingbirds, recently fledged or juvenile hummingbirds look extremely similar to females — so much so that it can be tough to tell them apart!
“This is a baby ruby-throated hummingbird (above),” says Linda Schoenherr. “My dog and I were in the front yard when she pointed it out to me. We have a lot of adult hummingbirds in our yard, but I never expected to be so close to a baby.”
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Courtesy Sally Harris
What Do Baby Hummingbirds Eat?
The mother feeds her nestlings a slurry of nectar that she regurgitates for them. Once they’re about 15 days old, she starts bringing the babies small insects. Learn more about female hummingbirds.
“It’s hard to imagine just how small a rufous hummingbird nest is until you see one for yourself!” says Sally Harris. “I took this photo in Sequim, Washington. Just 12 days later, the two babies took flight.”
Discover more cute hummingbird photos and the sweet stories behind them.
COurtesy Anne Winder Steed
Baby Hummingbird Size
A hummingbird nest is about the size of a thimble, with the diameter of a quarter. It measures 2 inches across and 1 inch deep. Eggs are the size of jelly beans, so newly hatched baby hummingbirds are very small, scrawny and featherless at first. The nest, made with stretchy spiderwebs, expands to accommodate the babies as they grow.
“An Anna’s hummingbird built a nest in a tree in our front yard,” says Anne Winder-Steed. “In this image, the hatchling is no more than two days old. We rarely get to see these special birds up close like this.”
Courtesy Judy Evans
How Do Baby Hummingbirds Learn to Fly?
Baby hummingbirds start to grow feathers soon after hatching. Within about two weeks, they sit on the edge of the nest and begin stretching their wings. They make their first flights about three weeks after hatching.
“A friend and I were taking a short hike when we found this hummingbird nest with two babies. We weren’t there very long before the mama came to feed them. The nest was so small and they were not newborn, so they didn’t have much room. We were so thankful to see them.”
Courtesy Wm Erik Voss
How Do Hummingbirds Feed Their Babies?
A female hummingbird jabs her bill far down the throat of her nestlings to feed them. But don’t worry, she doesn’t poke or hurt her babies with that long bill. Since they can’t feed themselves right away after taking flight, the mother continues to feed her young for a week or two after they leave the nest.
“I photographed breakfast time for a fledgling Allen’s hummingbird in the horticulture department at Fullerton College,” says Wm Erik Voss.
Find out what foods, how often and how much hummingbirds eat.
Courtesy Stephanie Cullinan
Stages of a Baby Hummingbird’s Life
“This is the second year we put hummingbird feeders out and the first time we put out nesting material. This sweet lady grabbed some, and I watched her fly into our tree to a nest she had been working on. I’d never seen a hummingbird nest before, and this one was visible from several windows of our house. Every day I documented the progress: nest building, eggs, chicks, feeding, and fledging. This photo was taken when Mom came to feed the chicks shortly before the first one fledged!” says Stephanie Cullinan.
Psst—baby chickadees are SO small and cute.
Courtesy Willie Powell
Baby Ruby Throated Hummingbirds
Willie Powell of Maceo, Kentucky, writes, “This nest was in a maple tree in my friend’s front yard. I felt so fortunate to see these baby ruby throated hummingbirds.
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Courtesy Audrey Carroll
Little Hummingbird Chick
Audrey Carroll shared this photo of a hummingbird nest in her backyard in Kalispell, Montana. She says she loves watching hummingbirds drink from her feeder.
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Courtesy Nancy Marshall
Busy Hummingbird Mom
“I captured this image of a female ruby-throated hummingbird feeding her hungry chicks in Chatham, Massachusetts,” says Nancy Marshall. Did you know that female hummingbirds are among the best bird mothers in the world!
Courtesy Alyssa Popp
Baby Hummingbirds Peeking Out
“I took this photo of a hummingbird nest with two babies on summer vacation in Highland, Michigan,” says Alyssa Popp.
Next, learn everything you need to know about baby mourning doves.