Friday, June 10, 2016

Hummingbird Nest

Hummingbird Nest

I found a hummingbird nest on my front porch a few weeks ago!

Likely the nest blew out of a nearby tree. The two closest trees are a cypress and a crabapple. The cypress was only four meters away. The crabapple was about 8 meters away. Likely the nest was in the cypress.

The most common hummingbird in my garden is the Rufous but Ruby-throated and Calliope hummingbirds also visit. For several years I have regularly heard and seen the typical territorial display of the Rufous Hummingbird, which might imply these hummers nest in my yard. I do not see displays of the Ruby-throated or Calliope Hummingbirds. Based on prevalence, likely the nest was built by a Rufous Hummingbird. 

The nest is made mostly of grass but there are some small wood chips or bark, and down is evident both on the inside and outside of the cup. The down is likely willow-seed from the Black-bud Willows in the garden. 

All three species use plant material bound with spiders' webs, are lined with down, and the outside is usually covered with flakes of lichens. Lichen is not common in my garden but is available in the forests down by the Elbow River. There was no evidence of lichen on the outside of the nest. 

Ruby-throated nests are described with a thick lining of down and the nest is bound smoothly and tightly with spiders' webs. Calliope nests are also thickly-lined with down. The nest in the photo was not thickly lined with down and was not tightly bound or smooth. Perhaps the nest was under construction when the wind intervened.

The dimensions of the nest (inches) and the reported dimensions of nests for the three hummers who visit my garden are shown in the table below.

Diameter Height 
Outside Inside Outside  Inside 
Nest in photo  1   ¾ ¾
Rufous  2 1   ⅞
Ruby-throated  1 - 1¾ ¾ - 1   ¾
Calliope 1½ - 1¾ 1⅛-1⅞   ⅞

Baicich PJ and Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP, Princeton, New Jersey, 2005.

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