While we were camping at Illinois State Beach, we noticed a hummingbird coming and going into the tree above our camper. After a lot of searching, we finally noticed the nest above our camper, with one baby in it. The nest was well hidden and mom was smart and used two cones of the Scots pine for the base.
Male hummingbirds don’t help the female build the nest (or helps at all, really) and she will spend several hours a day for week collecting materials to build her nest. The most common nesting materials found in hummingbird nests include:
- Cotton fibers
- Moss and lichen
- Plant down from thistles, dandelions or cattails
- Small bits of bark or leaves
- Fuzz, fur or hairs from leaves
- Spider silk
These materials are intertwined into a dense cup that is decorated with moss, lichen and other local materials for camouflage. The edge of the cup is curved inward to protect the eggs and the spider silk gives the nest it elasticity to enlarge as the babies grow.
Help hummers build heir nests by planting clematis, honeysuckle, milkweed (Asclepia) and blanket flower (Gaillardia). Pasque flowers offer both soft foliage with silken hairs and mid-spring flowers followed by fuzzy seedpods.
Hummingbird eggs are no bigger than navy beans. Most females lay two eggs, which they will incubate for about 15 – 18 days. Juvenile hummingbirds will leave the nest about 18 to 27 days after hatching.
A neighbor of the hummingbird was a chipping sparrow, with one egg.
© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl