Hummingbirds Mating, nesting and raising the young.
Throughout the hummingbird family, courtship and mating follow a few distinct patterns.
Many North American species rely on a specialized style of flight displays.
The male typically arrives first and establishes a territory usually rich in nectar producing flowers.
(Special permission has been granted by photographer Tom Grey for this awesome picture of Anna's hummingbirds mating
He will chase off all other males and hopes the flowers attract females to dine.
The flowers entice the females to feed and he pretends to chase them off.
Then the male hummer goes into his mating ritual.
Spectacular patterns of flight. Often doing maneuvers that would put the Navy's "Blue Angels" to shame.
Flying in a "J", a "U", or an "O" often positioning himself so the sunlight reflects of the colorful gorget (Pronounced gor-jet).
There may be some peeps and chatter added to the dance.
Anna's hummingbirds are best known songsters of the North American hummers while
Buff-bellied hummers have a song most pleasing to human ears.
Prior to the Hummingbirds Mating, the female builds the nest of plant materials, grasses, animal hair, and lichen.
Spider webs are used as the mortar.
The strong sticky substance of spider webbing holds it all together and attached the nest well in place.
After mating, she is on her own and defends her nesting territory even from the mating male.
Depending on the species of hummer, the nest can be situated in ground covers to high in a tree.
Often the nest is camouflaged to look like it is part of the tree itself, keeping would be predators from locating her little packages.
Sometimes they are directly over water or attached to man made objects.
Finding a nest is more luck than anything else.
Nests are about the size of a half dollar or golf ball cut in half
Hummingbirds Mating is fast as well, lasting 3 to 5 seconds.
There is no penetration, as male hummingbirds do not have an external penis.
Their cloaca's are pressed together and the sperm moves from the male to the female.
This act is called a cloacal kiss.
He's done his part
Hummingbirds mating is quick and simple.
Now the rest is up to the female, while he waits for more ladies to come by.
The mated female will lay to navy bean sized eggs usually two days apart.
After the second egg is laid, incubation begins.
Incubation can be between 12 and 15 days, tack on a couple more days if the temperatures are cooler.
The babies are taken care of by mom as she does the brooding, feeding and house keeping.
A super mom, she does all of this and still finds time to feed herself and look good for us.
Through this time, the male is mating with other females.
Count yourself one of the chosen few if you have witnessed hummingbirds mating.
Youngsters are fed a diet of nectar and minute insects. Protein counts for nine to ten percent of a babies diet, three times more protein required by an adult.
In about three to four weeks, the youngsters are fully feathered and outgrown the nest.
Mom continues to feed the fledglings for another week or so, but after that they are now considered competition for her food sources and chases them away.
While some hummers tolerate each other, Ruby-throated hummingbirds will continue to chase each other from food sources.
Summer is winding down and mating is the last thing on a hummingbirds mind.
It is wise to have more than one feeder and flower beds if possible.
you may miss out on hummingbirds mating, but you don't have to miss out on anything else.
Sign up for your FREE 'Gardening For Wildlife' newsletter today.