Baby Hummingbirds – Hatching to Liftoff

Several months ago, we noticed a mama hummingbird starting to build a nest in a Lipstick palm tree right next to our house. We had a great view into the nest from a second floor window that overlooks the palm. Quite intrigued, we kept a close watch and tried to document the progress with photos and video. Mama entertained us for many hours a day. We were constantly checking on her.

Hummingbirds are small, but their eggs are tiny! To give you a perspective, the opening of the nest above is only about 1.25 inches across. The eggs are about the size of jellybeans! The nest is amazing – built of very fine plant and leaf fibers. Mama also collects strands of spider web and uses them to add strength to the nest. To provide some camouflage, she attaches lichens around the outside. Apparently the nest of each species of hummingbird has its own particular look. This one is the Rufus-tailed hummingbird.

The two baby hummingbirds hatched around the 7th or 8th of October. Mama sat on top of the babies to keep them warm in between feedings and at night. She stopped doing this a few days before the babies were ready to leave the nest. We had several big storms during this time and we were so worried about them. The wind and rain were very strong and thrashed the palm leaves against each other. We thought mama would be thrown from the nest, but she managed to hang on!

The mother was very busy collecting food to feed her chicks. She returned to the nest every 15 minutes or so and stuck her long beak way down the babies’ throats to deliver the food.

Hungry birds are growing fast!

One day, Mama had to defend her babies from a lizard. She was flying around the lizard and squawking at it. Eddie ended up helping her out. He took a broom and used it to shake all the branches around the nest. The lizard took the hint and took off.

Their feathers are becoming distinct.

The above photo taken only a little more than two weeks after the eggs hatched and it was the last one we took since it was the day that the little guys flew out and away. We went upstairs to check on them a few hours after the photo was taken and the nest was empty. It is amazing how fast they developed! Below is a short video compilation showing the progression.

We read that the babies will hang around the nest for a day or two learning how to fly and for mama to show them where to find food. Shortly after we realized the babies had left the nest for good, we started to look for the cat. Fortunately, Rusty was easy to find and we locked him inside!

A gorgeous double rainbow. It was even more spectacular in person. It appeared in the early morning of December 31, 2020. Happy New Year! Hopefully, 2021 will be much better than 2020!

4 thoughts on “Baby Hummingbirds – Hatching to Liftoff

  1. Love this! Hummingbirds are so sweet! We love to watch them in the summer. Bought them a little swing so they can rest while they’re coming to eat from our feeder!

  2. Lovely photos..and what a great thing to keep you occupied in times of lockdown.. Birthday coming up soon!!! Cheers, happy new year Susie and George

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