Ruby-throated Hummingbird: Nesting Time!

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator

The month of June is here, and with it comes the peak of nesting season for many birds in our region.  The amazing cycle of bird courtship, mating, nest-building, egg laying, incubation, hatching, brood rearing, and fledging is in full swing right now.   


A Ruby-throated Hummingbird nest at Coverdale Farm Preserve, in a Sycamore tree along Burrows Run. Image by Derek Stoner, May 24, 2011.


In mid-May, Jim and Amy White discovered a Ruby-throated Hummingbird nest in a Sycamore tree along Burrows Run, in the middle of Coverdale Farm Preserve.   The nest is on a branch about 20 feet above the ground and well-disguised amongst the leaves and lichen clusters.  I took up the challenge of documenting this nest and I’ll leave it to your imagination as to how I obtained this photograph looking down into the nest!

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird sits on her well-hidden nest in a Sycamore tree along Burrows Run. Image by Derek Stoner, May 24, 2011.

Our region’s smallest bird, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird not surprisingly has the smallest eggs and the smallest nest.  The nest is intricately constructed of plant fibers and smartly camouflaged with lichens.  In order to strengthen the nest, the female hummingbird gathers spider silk and weaves it into the walnut-sized nest.  She then lays two eggs that weigh half a gram each.  It would take 5 hummingbird eggs to equal the weight of a dime!

Stay tuned for a series of stories about nesting birds, as we celebrate the beginning of a new generation of avian life. 

7 thoughts on “Ruby-throated Hummingbird: Nesting Time!”

  1. How did I manage to get a photo looking into a hummingbird nest 20 feet above the ground? Well, the situation called for some special ingredients. Here’s the recipe for a Hummingbird Nest Photo: One pickup truck, one 16-foot ladder, one mirror, and one not-afraid-of-heights photographer. Mix together in the absence of wind and add one cooperative female hummingbird, and you have a fine portrait of nature’s smallest, most beautiful bird nest! Enjoy, — Derek

  2. I just love Hummingbirds and really appreciate the photo. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Ellen- I am glad you enjoyed the photos! I look forward to sharing more about this hummingbird story, and many other nesting birds, as the summer progresses. Thanks for reading!
    — Derek

  4. Molly- I am glad you enjoyed the photos. Hummingbirds are such amazing creatures and I feel they are great to watch and learn from! – Derek

  5. Hello! What a wonderful page. I am a wildlife and wilderness journalist and would like to publish your beautiful nest photo with the eggs in a feature online. I would credit you and link to this page. Would that be OK? Thank you! (please email me at to let me know!)

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