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Taken at the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum 3-25-2010 ~ Babies are 3 days old!
This is a series on the second female in the aviary ~
Watching a baby hummingbird grow up can be a very rewarding experience. Knowing what to look for will help you understand what the hummingbirds are doing and why they are doing it.
Baby hummingbirds are hatched out of hummingbird eggs. When a mother hummingbird is laying an egg, she can be seen sitting on her nest with some shaking alternated by wiggling every few seconds. Mother hummingbirds will usually have two eggs laid on different days. The little eggs will be about the size of a pea or small jellybean. Even though the eggs will be laid on different days, both the eggs will usually hatch on the same day. The mother hummingbird can do this by not completely starting the incubation process until the second egg is laid.
The female hummingbird is the only one who will care for these little eggs. A male hummingbird does not assist with any of the childcare. In fact, if a male hummingbird comes around, the female hummingbird will consider his bright colors a threat that will attract predators and will chase him away.
The hummingbird eggs will remain in the nest incubating for approximately 16-18 days before they hatch. If the weather is cooler it may cause them to hatch a few days later. While the eggs are incubating in the nest, the mother hummingbird will sit on eggs to keep them at a constant temperature of 96 degrees.
Baby hummingbirds still inside the egg has very strong neck muscles and a little hook on its short bill that will help them peck their way out. These features disappear soon after the baby is born. The mother hummingbird will dispose of the broken egg shells after the baby hummingbirds are hatched.
When the baby hummingbirds hatch, they have no feathers and dark skin. Baby hummingbirds are hatched with their eyes are closed. Depending on the type or species of hummingbird, the little babies will weigh approximately 0.62 grams. That’s one-third (1/3) the weight of a United States Dime. They are about one (1) inch long and cannot regulate their own body heat. Their beaks are short, stubby, and yellow.
When the baby hummingbirds are first born, the mother hummingbird will spend most of her time sitting on the nest, keeping the baby hummingbirds warm. As the baby hummingbirds grow more feathers, they are better able to keep themselves warm and the mother hummingbird can spend more time catching bugs and drinking nectar to feed them.
The mother hummingbird will eat nectar and bugs and then regurgitate it into a slurry substance the baby hummingbirds can digest. She will feed this mixture to the baby hummingbirds approximately every twenty (20) minutes. A baby hummingbird needs the mother hummingbird to feed them. Baby hummingbirds can not drink hummingbird nectar like adults do because there is not enough protein in the regular hummingbird nectar. If a baby hummingbird had only regular hummingbird nectar, the baby hummingbird would become severally crippled, or would die. If you find a sick, injured, or abandoned hummingbird, please read our First-Aid for Baby Hummingbirds section first, before attempting to rescue them.
When a mother hummingbird comes to feed the baby hummingbirds, the baby hummingbirds will feel the wind from the wing of their mother and lift their little heads up and open their mouths. The mother hummingbird will insert her beak all the way down into the mouths of the baby hummingbirds while dropping a little of the regurgitated insects and nectar inside. When the mother hummingbird does this, you can see her throat swell as she pumps the baby food out of her beak in an up and down motion, kind of like a sewing needle on a sewing machine.
Resource and more reading at Baby Hummingbirds