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Hummingbird Fledglings

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Have you seen hummingbird fledglings?

If hummingbirds nest in your garden, odds are you’ve seen some hummingbird fledglings. But maybe you haven’t recognized them. That’s because all hummingbirds are tiny. But the hummingbird fledglings are extra little. And they’re extra fun to experience.

baby hummingbird

What are some hints that it’s a not an adult bird?

If you’re looking at a hummingbird in winter, it’s probably not a fledgling. And if you’re watching a bird with very iridescent plumage, it’s likely an adult. But if you see a super tiny little bird that’s extra fluffy and puffy, it may be a hummingbird fledgling.

Moreover, if you see a hummingbird trying to eat from everything in sight, it may be a baby. That’s because the young ones haven’t yet learned what’s good to eat and what isn’t good.

In fact, I’ve seen them try to find a nectar source on a fern. And, if you didn’t know, ferns don’t have nectar.

But, sometimes an adult hummingbird will be poking around non-nectar sources. That’s because they’re seeking insects and nesting materials.

And keep an eye out for pairs of newly fledged birds.

Hummingbirds tend to raise babies in pairs. And both younsters tend to leave the nest around the same time.

Then, when both have left the nest, momma teaches them how to forage. But she eventually leaves them alone. When that happens, they may stick together for a while. And they’re super fun to see. That’s because they’re kids. And hummingbird fledgling kids love to play!

So, hummingbird fledglings will put on some seriously fun aerial shows. And, if you’re really lucky, they may fly up to your face to explore you too. In fact, if you hold up a flower and stand very still around young hummingbirds, you may get to feed them some fresh nectar from your garden.

11 comments on “Hummingbird Fledglings

  1. Marilyn Melady on

    I think we have a fledgling that likes to perch on a small empty suit feeder about 5”x6”. It is fluffy and about an inch and a half to two inches tall. It goes back and forth to a nearby feeder. I video taped it and enlarged it and you can actually see it stick out it’s tongue.

  2. Martha Garrison on

    I have a small hummingbird that sits on my feeder for hours. I can get very close and once when lightly touching him so I could take the feeder in for the night he got on my hand and stayed for a few minutes. Is this normal for a fledgling?

  3. Garden Mentors on

    Martha, That sounds very sweet. But, keep an eye on the little guy. Sometimes birds park themselves at feeders when they are sick. In our area, birders are taking down feeders of all sorts because of diseases that are more rapidly spread by inviting birds to group at feeders. If you’re concerned about this, check with your local birding societies to find out the status in your area. As for the bird sitting on your hand, it’s not unusual for comfortable wild birds to sit on the hand that feeds them briefly. Be sure to wash up well after touching them though!

  4. Celeste Mark on

    hello- we have a fledgling hummingbird that for about a week and half has been trying to figure out how to use our nectar feeder but without any success. Appears to be a very young male ruby throat hummingbird but does love and feeds from our flowers. We are in NE Florida – in Jacksonville- He doesn’t know how to use the feeder and is not getting any nectar at all- 🙁 what can we do to help this little one? Please respond please! We did hany another type feeder out away from the first one.
    Thanks for any help !

  5. Garden Mentors on

    Celeste, Thanks for writing in. Odds are this bird is gathering food from other sources besides your feeder. Young hummingbirds need more than just sugar water to survive. We’ve seen young birds try to feed from all sorts of non-food sources in the beginning. Wild birds usually figure out how to feed themselves eventually. No need for human interruption in our opinion.

  6. Deanne Myers on

    Is it possible for a fledgling to sit on a hummingbird feeder with its tongue out and its head up in the air making motion like it’s gasping? I don’t know what’s going on with this little guy, but something just isn’t right. I hope it doesn’t have a tongue, fungus or something.

  7. Garden Mentors on

    Deanne, Thanks for your question. It is possible for this to happen. And it could be a tongue problem. Or, maybe, there are small gnats about and the fledgling is actually gulping those down? They do eat a lot of small insects. It sounds like you already know this, but just in case – be sure to keep your feeders clean to avoid spreading disease.

  8. Randy on

    I live in a small apartment complex in Atlanta and have a feeder that gets regular use during the season. I am retired and love to watch the hummingbirds feeding throughout the day. However, I only have 3 birds that visit my feeder, all females. (There was a male a few years ago, but he sadly became the victim of a neighbor’s cat.) I assume the females are breeding, but I never see fledglings or “new” visitors. Is this normal? I am thankful for the 3 that I have, but I would love to know that they are healthy and able to do their part in repopulating the world. Also, do hummingbirds return to the same feeding/breeding grounds each year? As far as I can tell I have the same 3 females every year. I have had no luck researching this online, so I am hoping you will be able to help. Thanks!

  9. Garden Mentors on

    Randy, without tagging your birds, it would be difficult to know if the birds at your feeder are return visitors. Too, depending on the species, it may be that you have year ’round birds as it seems some Ruby Throated hummingbirds may overwinter in Atlanta. Odds are your females are keeping nests somewhere even if you don’t see them.

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