Baby Hummingbirds

Quick Introduction to Baby Hummingbirds 

Baby hummingbirds come out of small pea-sized eggs. The mother hummingbird usually lays two eggs on two different days but by starting the incubation process in a staggered manner, she usually manages to make both eggs hatch on the same day. The incubation period before the baby hummingbirds emerge from the eggs is 16 to 18 days. The mother bird sits on the eggs in her nest and provides the warmth required for the incubation process with some gentle movement such as wiggling. The optimal temperature for the baby hummingbirds to appear is said to be 96 degrees and the hatching can be delayed if the ambient temperature is significantly lower.

The father hummingbird is usually not involved in the process in any way and even if he does come near the nest, the mother is likely to push him away. The bright colors of the adult male hummingbird can attract predators and this is one of the plausible reasons why the mother does not want the father around the nest.

Baby hummingbirds at the time of hatching are without any feathers and are covered with dark skin. They tend to have their eyes tightly closed and the average weight of the small birds is around .62 grams. They are one inch in length and at this stage incapable of regulating their own body heat. They have yellow-colored, short and stubby beaks. Prior to hatching, there is a small hook at the end of its bill meant to aid the baby hummingbird in pecking out of the egg shell. Baby hummingbirds also have strong neck muscles when inside the egg for this reason.  The hook falls off after the bird is hatched.

The mother hummingbird’s protection of the hatchlings starts from the moment she gets rid of the egg shell pieces. She will then spend much of her time in the nest to provide warmth for the babies. Once the baby hummingbirds start to acquire feathers and are able to keep their bodies warm, the mother spends more time away from the nest collecting food items such as bugs and nectar from flowers. She will regurgitate these in the form of a mushy substance which is meant to ease the digestive process of the baby hummingbirds. The baby birds are fed every twenty minutes. It is interesting to note the way that nature works because when the baby hummingbirds feel the mother return to the nest they are said to lift their heads and even open their mouths in anticipation of their feed. The mother bird puts her beak down the throat of the baby bird and injects the semi-processed nectar and insects into the baby hummingbird.

Baby hummingbirds grow in size fairly dramatically and soon start to acquire fuzzy feathers and their beaks start to look darker. It takes about nine days from the time of hatching for baby hummingbirds to completely regulate their own body heat as it takes that long for them to get their feathers. As the baby birds grow larger, the nest starts to become too small for the mother and the baby hummingbirds to stay in together.

The process of learning to fly for baby hummingbirds starts with them holding on to the floor of the nest with their feet and flapping their wings while sitting down. The actual flight will happen around the third week after hatching.

The flight is often the sign of adulthood and independence for baby hummingbirds as that is when they leave the nest and start fending for themselves. A mother hummingbird may have more than one brood in any given season and sometimes the same nest may be used by more than one set of parent and baby hummingbirds.




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