a Hummingbird Nest!
Look closely at the hummingbird nest in the photographs. Imagine the skills
that went into building it, weaving the tiny materials together so carefully
For a hummingbird to keep her babies alive until they
fledge, her nest must serve all of the following purposes:
to hold the mother's heat tightly against the eggs, and to keep rain
and cold air from leaking in.
- A strong
bed for the mother to spend all her time while she's incubating the
- A stretchable
crib big enough to hold two nestlings that are growing as big as their
- A soft
baby blanket to rest on without any sharp points that could puncture
or crack an egg.
- A camouflaged
hideout that is difficult for predators to find.
uses these materials to build her nest:
and bud scales
and dandelion down
Look at the
materials the hummer uses and consider the purposes of her nest. Which
materials are most important for:
Insulation? A strong bed? A stretchable crib? A soft blanket? A camouflaged
looks for a nest site that is sheltered above by leafy branches and usually
open to the ground beneath. She picks a fairly stout branch that slants
downward from the tree. The twigs may be at least an inch wide but she
usually finds a place where they fork, so they're a little wider at the
bottom. Nests have been found anywhere from six to 50 feet above ground,
but the average is 10 to 20 feet.
Your job in this activity is to find and then use materials to make a
nest that can serve all the nest purposes listed above. But YOUR nest
needs to be on a bigger scale than a hummingbird's because the eggs in
your nest will be chicken eggs!
pieces of string or yarn, broken peanut shells, little torn pieces of
dull green and brown construction paper
bands (cut so they are each a straight strand)
tufts from cotton balls or cotton batting
- Two chicken
eggs to put in each finished nest
1. Compare the list of materials we're going to use with the materials
a hummingbird uses, and think of the purposes of a hummingbird nest. Now
match the Hummer Nest-Building Materials with the Student Nest-Building
Materials. (Hint: One of the Hummer materials does the same work as TWO
of the student materials.)
2. Using the Student Nest-Building Materials, do your best to construct
a nest that can hold, hide, protect, and insulate two chicken eggs. Send
us pictures of your class's favorites!
3. Take turns hiding your nests outside. Have a contest to see whose nest
is hidden the best!
1. How does this exercise compare with the job a real hummingbird must
do to build her nest?
2. What does a hummer look for when deciding where to build her nest?
This! Scavenger Hunt and Journaling Question
- Have a
scavenger hunt around your school to gather all the real materials a
hummingbird would need to construct a nest. Can you fashion these materials
into a walnut-sized nest that looks like a real hummingbird nest? Can
you find any suitable places where you think a real hummingbird might
build her nest if she lived by your school?