Why would a hummingbird abandon her nest?

nancy310April 16, 2008

Do hummingbirds abondon fully built nests and if so why?

The middle of March a hummingbird began to build her nest in our back yard tree. Fast forward, this weekend I thought I saw her feeding chicks, but I did not see or hear babies. I assumed she was still working on the nest, but this is a month later.

Yesterday in the eve another hummer was near the nest and agitated by me. The nesting hummingbird took off after the agressor and I have not seen her since. I don't know if I should check the nest for hatchlings, leave it alone or what. Needless to say I am concerned about her after having watched her every move for the last 30 days.

Any input would be greatly apprciated,

Thank you,


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You saw her building a nest then maybe feeding chicks. It's not clear. Did you see her sitting on the nest for a couple weeks brooding? If it's easy you could take a peek in the nest. Mom's typically feed their chicks 3 or 4 times per hour but otherwise are away most of the time.
She might not have laid eggs yet. Maybe the interloper was a potential father.
Where are you? What kind of hummer?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 8:42PM
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Hi - Thank you so much for responding. I was finally able to look in the nest from above; thankfully no chicks no eggs. I am in So. California (Santa Monica) and I believe she is an Allen, her colors are muted, what color I can see appears to be the rusty-brown - I saw a male hummer perched on her tree the week before she left; he was more rust than any other obvious color, so I am assuming she is Allen, not Anna. Any other info you can offer would be extremely helpful. I saw another hummer buzzing around the tree early this am.
Thank you again for all of your help

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 12:07PM
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She'll probably be back. My Allen lays eggs 4 or 5 times a year in the same location. She'll sometimes spend a lot of time in the nest but not lay eggs. Good luck, Joe

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 12:33PM
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I have a Hummer that nested & laid 2 eggs in a palm tree of our yard. I don't know what kind of Hummer she is~ I live in AZ, the Hummer is mostly gray with green down her back and a short tail. Last night it was very windy, the nest is torn partly away from the palm branch, the eggs are still in it, but we haven't seen our Hummer for almost 3 hours this morning. Do you think she will come back, fix her nest & take care of her two eggs?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 12:51PM
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Nancy, if she built the nest in mid-March it was to lay eggs. Hummers are about 40 days from laying to fledging, so your baby hummers may be alive and well and Mom may have moved on or will be back later.

Jeanette, the mothering instinct is strong in hummingbirds in general--unlike the fathering instinct!--so she'll probably be back.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 7:14PM
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I had a robin build most of a nest in a spruce in my yard and then it just left. It probably didn't like my dog vainly chasing it off the ground.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 10:48PM
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The eggs r still in nest- no sign of mother in 2 days

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 12:18PM
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I have a hummingbird who abandoned her nest that has two eggs in it. She has been gone 3 days now but the eggs are still there. HELP

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:35AM
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Birds will abandon their nest if there is too much activity around.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Basically, if the hummer has truly abandoned eggs or nestlings, they are doomed.
You can't feed them what they need.

Reasons for abandoning? Mom got caught by a predator, usually. In my experience, they don't care if you get close to the nest. I've seen successful nests in nursery stock, with people and equipment passing within inches of the nest.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 12:25PM
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