Baby Hummingbirds Grow Up So Fast

Published November 5, 2014
Updated January 17, 2018

Like honeybees and bumblebees, hummingbirds are an integral part of the pollination process. They’re also the tiniest birds in the world, with many species weighing in at less than a penny.

Hummingbirds are native to the Americas, and can be found in Alaska, Chile, and everywhere in between. The Anna’s Hummingbird is a medium-sized (think of a ping bong ball) hummingbird. Their habitat spans Southern California and Northern Mexico, and males can be identified by their emerald colored feathers and ruby-tinged throats. The females have similar, but more subdued, coloring. They were named after Princess Anna de Belle Masséna, who is best (only) remembered for being pretty and having a hummingbird named after her.

Watch these Anna’s Hummingbirds transform from eggs to baby hummingbirds to full-fledged adults. It all takes less than a month.

anna's hummingbird nest
Hummingbird nests are so tiny and expertly camouflaged that humans often mistake them for a knot on a tree limb. Source: The Huffington Post

anna's hummingbird nest
A female hummingbird uses soft material like moss, lichen, cotton fluffs, bits of willows, soft plant pieces, dryer lint, and leaf hairs to build her nest. She will use spider webs to glue it all together. Source: Gary Yost Photography

A mother hummingbird needs to keep her nest at the perfect temperature. If it gets hotter than 96 degrees Fahrenheit, the eggs will be too hot to hatch. Source: Gary Yost Photography

The eggs hatch about 16-18 days after they are laid. Source: Gary Yost Photography

When baby hummingbirds hatch they are blind and featherless. Source: Gary Yost Photography

Baby hummingbirds cannot fly, so they get all their food from Mom. Source: Gary Yost Photography

baby hummingbirds
The average hummingbird needs to eat 7 times per hour. Source: Gary Yost Photography

baby hummingbirds
Mom feeds her hatchlings by inserting her beak all the way down into her baby's mouth and regurgitating a mixture of nectar and insects. Source: Gary Yost Photography

anna's hummingbird nest
Male hummingbirds don't stick around to help raise their young. Source: Gary Yost Photography

baby hummingbirds
Baby hummingbirds double in size after only a couple of days. Source: Gary Yost Photography

baby hummingbirds
After nine days the babies have enough feathers to regulate their own body temperature. Source: Gary Yost Photography

baby hummingbirds
The baby hummingbirds start stretching their wings by gripping the floor of the nest with their feet and flapping. Source: Gary Yost Photography

baby hummingbirds
By week three the baby hummingbirds are almost ready to strike out on their own. Source: Gary Yost Photography

The baby hummingbirds have left the nest. Mom will help them out for the next few days by showing them good spots to find flowers and insects, but after that they're on their own. Source: Gary Yost Photography

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Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.