Ruby-throated Hummingbird: About to Fledge!

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator 

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird nestling, about 15 days old, in its nest at Coverdale Farm Preserve. Image by Derek Stoner, June 15, 2011.

On June 15, I visited the Ruby-throated Hummingbird nest at Coverdale Farm for the third Wednesday in a row.  At this point, the nestling hummingbird is an estimated 15-16 days old and looks much more like an adult hummingbird.   The beak looks to have grown an additional quarter-inch in one week.  Notice the bit of yellow color in the corner of the hummingbird’s beak (the gape flange) that is a common feature of young birds.

The nestling Ruby-throated Hummingbird in mostly-adult plumage, but still showing a few tufts of down feathers on its back and tail. Image by Derek Stoner, June 15, 2011.

In the past week, the pin feathers on the hummingbird’s back grew out and are now fully-formed feathers exhibiting the classic iridescent greenish-gold hue of an adult hummingbird.  There are just a  few remaining buff-colored down feathers on the uppertail coverts, soon to be dropped as the tail feathers grow out and the bird prepares for its first flight. 

Stay tuned for one final update on the hummingbird, before it fledges and makes its first flight!

3 thoughts on “Ruby-throated Hummingbird: About to Fledge!”

  1. laurie a curl

    Was a first for me and how very exciting! Unbelievable how itsy bitsy……very hard to spot unless you are experienced in the birding field of which I hope to be with more time out in the field. You guys sure are a total inspiration, thanks!

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