Baby hummingbirds are beyond adorable, starting life as the world’s smallest eggs and growing rapidly into fully-fledged adults. These creatures are born during the breeding season, usually occurring in late spring or early summer. However, the exact period can vary depending on the hummingbird species in a specific area. From eggs to fully-fledged birds, it takes about five weeks for baby hummingbirds to develop.
Breeding and Incubation
A typical hummingbird clutch consists of two eggs. The female hummingbird takes on the role of incubating her eggs, a process that typically lasts for about two weeks before the chicks hatch. The chicks then remain in the nest for approximately three more weeks before they start testing their wings.
Hummingbird nests are tiny masterpieces, about the size of a thimble with the diameter of a quarter. The mother hummingbird constructs the nest with stretchy spider webs that expand as the babies grow, allowing for comfortable accommodation.
Appearance and Diet
Baby hummingbirds bear an uncanny resemblance to the females of their species, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. After hatching, the chicks are fed a slurry of nectar regurgitated by the mother. When they reach about 15 days old, the mother introduces small insects into their diet.
Development and Flight
Baby hummingbirds start growing feathers soon after they hatch, an exciting phase that marks the beginning of their journey towards flight. Their first flights typically occur about three weeks after hatching. Even after leaving the nest, the mother continues to feed her young for a week or two as they cannot feed themselves right away.
Hummingbirds begin their life cycle as the smallest eggs in the world, weighing approximately 0.62 grams and measuring less than ½ inch long. These white, non-glossy eggs are often compared to jelly beans in size. The mother hummingbird usually lays only two eggs, though sometimes there might be only one.
Birth and Early Life
When a baby hummingbird is still inside the egg, it develops strong neck muscles and a hook on its short bill, which helps it peck its way out. Upon hatching, hummingbird babies are blind and featherless. The mother hummingbird keeps her newborns warm by sitting on the nest and feeding them by inserting her beak into their throats and dropping regurgitated insects and nectar.
Baby hummingbirds grow at a remarkable pace, doubling in size every day during their initial days. As they grow, the mother can leave the nest more frequently to gather food. As the chicks get older, the mother spends extended periods away from the nest, gradually giving them independence. In about a week, the growing chicks get covered with fuzzy new feathers. However, it takes at least nine days before they can regulate their own body heat.
After about two weeks, baby hummingbirds start to look more like small adult hummingbirds, with grown feathers and longer beaks (depending on the species). They are ready to leave the nest forever after about three weeks. The mother may observe them from a nearby branch, and there’s no need for rescue as they won’t return to the nest once they fly away. The mother hummingbird continues to nurture her young for a few more days, leading them to the best food sources.
A baby hummingbird’s life is truly a wonder of nature, filled with rapid growth and development from an egg no larger than a jelly bean to a capable, fully-fledged bird.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the mating season for hummingbirds?
Hummingbirds usually mate during late spring or early summer. However, the exact period can vary depending on the hummingbird species in a specific area.
How many babies will a hummingbird have?
A typical hummingbird clutch consists of two eggs, meaning a mother hummingbird will usually have two babies at a time.
How long does it take for a hummingbird egg to hatch?
It typically takes about two weeks for a hummingbird egg to hatch.
How small is a baby hummingbird?
Baby hummingbirds are incredibly tiny. Their size is often compared to a jelly bean when they’re still in the egg.
What does a baby hummingbird look like?
Baby hummingbirds are initially blind and featherless. However, they rapidly develop, growing feathers, and taking on a resemblance to females of their species.
What do baby hummingbirds eat?
Baby hummingbirds primarily consume a diet of nectar and insects, fed by their mother.
How long until a baby hummingbird can fly?
Baby hummingbirds usually take their first flight about three weeks after hatching.
From their humble beginnings in tiny, jellybean-sized eggs to their first flights three weeks post-hatching, baby hummingbirds represent a marvel of the natural world. Their rapid growth, maturation, and the nurturing behavior of mother hummingbirds provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of these exquisite creatures. Whether it’s their unique nesting habits, intriguing diets, or rapid development, the journey of a baby hummingbird from egg to flight is an awe-inspiring spectacle that underscores the wonder and beauty of nature.