Squee alert: A hummingbird feeds its teeny-tiny chicks

Oh my goodness, baby hummingbirds are so incredibly small and darling. I had no idea.


How small is a baby hummingbird?

…Their eggs are only about the size of a coffee bean, while the nest of a ruby-throated hummingbird is about the size of half a walnut shell.

While the size and weight of a baby hummingbird will vary with the species, chicks are about one inch long, and weigh about .62 grams when born. Think of a jellybean that weighs about one-third the weight of a U.S. dime, and you'll have a pretty good idea of just how itsy-bitsy these little birds are…

What do baby hummingbirds eat?

A mother hummingbird will leave the nest to drink nectar and eat soft-bodied bugs including mosquitoes, gnats, spiders, caterpillars, aphids, insect eggs, fruit flies, and small bees.

Hummingbirds, and especially growing babies, need protein in their diets if they are to remain healthy. Bugs provide that protein. That they eat mosquitoes, gnats, and aphids is a great reason to try to attract hummingbirds to your backyard.

When the mother returns to the nest, her little ones feel the wind from her wings and instinctively lift their heads and open their mouths. Mom then inserts her beak into their mouths and regurgitates the partially digested bugs and nectar…

If you watch carefully and at a respectful distance, you might see the mother's throat swell as she pumps the food out of her beak in an up and down motion.

Chicks need to eat every 20 minutes and the energy it takes to keep herself and her babies fed can take its toll. 

(Nag on the Lake, TwistedSifter)

screengrab via YouTube