If you are fortunate enough to see this in a tree you might think that some sort of strange and confused insect has built a bird’s nest in which to lay its eggs. But, the reality is, this nest belongs to a hummingbird.
It is very difficult to spot a hummingbird nest, which is why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking everyone to check for them before trimming trees and shrubs this spring.
Birds & Blooms state that not many people have actually seen these nests, because they are nearly impossible to find – looking from underneath, they can be mistaken for just another bump in a branch; looking above, they are ideally covered by leaves; and from the side, they look like a knot covered in plant fiber and lichen (their nests are also made of twigs and the hummingbirds use spider silk as threads to hold them together and in place). The nest itself is not much wider than a quarter and the eggs are approximately the size of navy beans.
According to The World of Hummingbirds, the best way to find a hummingbird nest is to follow the female hummingbird. She will most likely lead you to a place protected from the wind so her babies won’t be thrown when it gets windy. She also needs to build her nest on a solid base, so she’ll look for a place like a “Y” or where branches of a tree or bush cross. To keep her eggs safe from predatory birds, snakes, ants, and other predators, she needs a place well off the ground.
If you’d like to attract hummingbirds to your yard, The Old Farmer’s Almanac says to create a habitat with lots of shade, shelter, security and food. Check out their website for a list of flowers and plants and how to place them.