Anna’s Hummingbirds Building Nests

by Larry on February 14, 2012

Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) photos by Larry Jordan

Every year around this time, I begin to see an influx of Anna’s Hummngbirds (Calypte anna). I keep a few feeders up all year because I always have at least one or two hummers that seem to stay year round. Click on photos  for full sized images.

I had been hearing and seeing the Anna’s Hummingbird male performing his famous “dive display” so I put out the nesting material which, I believe, is simply raw cotton.

I was out doing yard work when my wife informed me from the back porch, “hey there’s a hummingbird building a nest.”

The female builds the nest by alternating between plant down gathered on 3–4 successive trips and spider webs collected on 2 trips. The sides and rim develop as she sits in the nest, pushing nest material with her breast while turning frequently. Building begins in early morning and continues actively until late morning, then slows to a stop in midafternoon, but sometimes continues all day, depending somewhat on the weather1.

The inner cup is lined loosely with downy material (plant, feathers, hair). Walls are made of downy material including cattail, willow, underside of sycamore leaves, thistle, eucalyptus flowers, and small feathers. Binding materials are mostly spider webs and insect cocoon fibers, but also fibrous plant material and rodent hairs. Usually ornamented on the outside with bits of lichens, mosses, and dead leaves; occasionally bark, algae or other plant materials1.

This is a photo from Nina over at Nature Remains of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird nest. You can see her journal following this nesting hummer here.

I shot a short video of the Anna’s Hummingbirds gathering the nest material from my back porch. I also want to add this disclaimer that the lights you see on my back porch are not left up from Christmas time, they are actually the lights we use on the porch at night rather than white lights 😉

If you want to watch an Allen’s Hummingbird web cam, it’s really cool and you can see it here. If you want to see lots more cool bird photos, check out World Bird Wednesday!

References: 1Birds of North America Online

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