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Overview: The Annual Cycle of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird
January February March April May June
July August September October November December

May: Getting Down to Nesting
In May, hummingbirds are still reaching the northernmost parts of their vast breeding range. A Rubythroat's nest isn't much bigger than a coin, but it takes her 5 or 6 days to build her waterproof, camouflaged, stretchy nest. The male has one job, but it's really important: keeping everything else away from the flowers. He ferociously chases everything from bees to big birds away from his territory's flowers, feeders and food. Females need quick access to food to get back on the nest so the eggs don't chill. A flower-filled territory means Mom uses less energy for flying so she has more energy for incubating. She doesn't have to worry about competition at the feeders or flowers.

Nest of Rubythroated Hummingbird compared to a coin

Image: Dorothy Edgington