Nests & Eggs: Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Plate 7: Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Archilochus colubris

These beautiful creatures that glitter like jewels are in a family by themselves because they are unique!

This, the smallest bird found in the area, can be confused only with large moths such as the sphinx or hawk moths. Both the moths and hummingbirds like to feed on deep-throated flowers such as honeysuckles, petunias and trumpet-vines but the moths prefer late evening or early morning while the hummer never passes up a chance to explore such flowers with his long brush-like tongue with which he gathers nectar. This combined with small insects and spiders goes to make up his diet. Brightly colored phials filled with sugar water will attract him to your yard.

Hummingbirds are among the best fliers of the bird world and can hover, fly backward or forward or straight away, whatever meets their fancy. The male has a green back and in some lights the throat patch looks black only to flash ruby red when the bird changes position so the light is reflected. The female is duller and has white feather tips on the tail.

The female builds one of the daintiest of nests on top of some sloping branch, using lichens and spider web to attach the cup to the limb. This little nest which is only 1½ inches in diameter is not often found for it has the appearance of being only a part of the branch. Two young constitute the usual family.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol I
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the Ruby-throated Hummingbird story in Bird Biographies out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate VII: Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The hummingbird is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER XXXV. A Butcher and a Hummer.

Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Bird picture for notebook.

Hummer the Hummingbird
Corresponding print from The Burgess Bird Book.

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book
Dover Nature Coloring Book based on Fifty Birds of Town and City by Bob Hines. Includes the ruby-throated hummingbird.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the complete series:
Nest & Eggs ~ Intro & Free eBook
Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs ~ Complete Series

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