Building a Hummingbird Nest

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Nest Building Instinct
Once female hummers arrive and mate in the spring, the female's instinct "tells them" to build nests for raising young. These little homes must be strong yet soft as a baby blanket and stretchy enough to hold fast-growing nestlings. They must also be protected from cold, rain, and predators. That's no easy task!

Nesting Materials
Look closely at this hummingbird nest. What kinds of materials do you think it's made from? Make a list of things you can think might have been used.

Fluffy Seed Heads
Would this be good material for a hummer nest?

Nature's Insulation
Cattail flower seed heads were once used for stuffing blankets and pillows. They were also stuffed into shoes for warmth. Why would this be a helpful nest material?

Silky Strength
One of the most important components of a hummingbird nest is a material that can hold it all together. Have you ever noticed how strong and stretchy a spider's silky web is?

Describe what you see covering this nest. Lichens are commonly placed on the outside of little hummingbird nests. Why do you think they are used this way?

Soft Edges
Many nests are cup-shaped. The female builds the lip of the nest by pressing the soft nest materials between her bill, chin, and chest as she rotates her body in the nest.

Tiny Bird, Tiny Nest
It takes the female hummingbird about 5-6 days to build her nest. It is a small nest that is just the right size to hold her little family. Estimate the size of this hummingbird nest.

Nest Location
Finding a good location for the nest will help the mother hummingbird and her nestlings survive. How would you describe this nest location?