Bird Supermoms

Birds & Blooms|June/July 2020

Bird Supermoms
Female hummingbirds amaze with incredible maternal skills.
By Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman

Everyone knows of male hummingbirds and their dazzling iridescent hues. But the females wow us in a more practical way: They are among the best mothers in the bird world. Male hummingbirds take no part in raising the young, so these miniature moms do the big job all by themselves.

A Perfect Cradle

To shelter her cherished eggs, a female hummingbird builds an exquisite nest that is equally as precious as it is practical. She fashions a tiny cup from the finest plant materials, like the wispy down from dandelions or thistles, and places it on top of a branch, tying them together with sticky spiderwebs. She covers the outside of the nest with tiny flakes of lichen to camouflage her masterpiece.

The build time is anywhere from a week to 10 days, and the resulting nest looks like a bump on a branch— almost impossible to spot.

Egg-cellent Care

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June/July 2020