What month do hummingbirds lay eggs?

Hummingbirds are amazing little birds that captivate people with their beauty and speed. These tiny birds have unique characteristics when it comes to breeding and laying eggs. Understanding their breeding season and nesting behaviors can help people support and enjoy hummingbirds.

Quick Facts on Hummingbird Egg Laying

Here are some key points on when hummingbirds lay eggs:

  • Most hummingbirds in the United States lay eggs between March and July.
  • The exact timing depends on the species and geographic location.
  • Females typically lay two small white eggs per clutch.
  • They may have up to 3-4 clutches in a season, with a new clutch every 2-3 weeks.
  • Incubation lasts 12-16 days before the eggs hatch.
  • The female alone incubates the eggs and cares for the young.

What Month Do Hummingbirds Nest?

Nesting is closely tied to when hummingbirds breed and lay eggs. Here’s an overview of typical hummingbird nesting seasons:

  • In most of the United States, nesting occurs between February and July.
  • In southern states like Texas and Florida, nesting may start in January or February.
  • Farther north, nesting typically begins in March and April.
  • At higher elevations in the mountains, nesting may occur from May to July.

The exact nesting period depends on the species and local conditions. The Anna’s and Rufous hummingbirds start nesting on the early side. Ruby-throated hummingbirds begin nesting a bit later in spring. Nesting ends between June and August across all species.

What Factors Influence When Hummingbirds Lay Eggs?

Several factors impact the breeding season and egg laying times for hummingbirds:

  • Food availability – Hummingbirds time nesting around flower blooming when nectar will be plentiful.
  • Climate – Warmer climates support earlier nesting. Colder areas have later spring nesting seasons.
  • Species traits – Some hummingbird species nest earlier than others.
  • Age – Older females may nest earlier than younger ones.
  • Altitude – At higher elevations, nesting is delayed by cooler temperatures.
  • Weather – Unusually cold or wet weather may delay nesting in a given year.
  • Day length – Increasing daylight hours triggers hormone changes for breeding.

By timing nesting and breeding around these factors, hummingbirds maximize their chances of raising healthy young.

When Do the Most Common Hummingbird Species Lay Eggs?

Here is a closer look at when four major hummingbird species typically lay eggs across their range:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

  • Nesting begins: Late April to early May
  • Egg laying begins: May
  • Peak egg laying: Late May through June
  • Geographic range: Eastern to central North America

Anna’s Hummingbird

  • Nesting begins: January to February
  • Egg laying begins: February
  • Peak egg laying: March to June
  • Geographic range: Pacific coast and Southwest

Rufous Hummingbird

  • Nesting begins: January to February
  • Egg laying begins: Early February
  • Peak egg laying: March to May
  • Geographic range: Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies

Calliope Hummingbird

  • Nesting begins: Mid-May
  • Egg laying begins: Late May
  • Peak egg laying: June
  • Geographic range: Mountainous West

As these examples show, hummingbirds living farther south and west tend to begin laying eggs earlier in spring compared to species in northern and eastern areas.

What Are the Stages of the Hummingbird Breeding Cycle?

Hummingbirds follow a typical breeding cycle each season:

  1. Courtship – Males perform aerial displays and mating rituals to attract females.
  2. Nest building – The female constructs a small cup nest out of plant fibers, spider silk, and lichen.
  3. Egg laying – The female lays two tiny white eggs, usually on consecutive days.
  4. Incubation – The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 16 days before they hatch.
  5. Hatching – The chicks hatch, naked and helpless.
  6. Care of young – The female feeds the chicks with regurgitated nectar and insects.
  7. Fledging – The young leave the nest at 18-25 days old.

This cycle is repeated up to 3 or 4 times over the course of the breeding season as the female raises multiple broods.

How Many Broods Do Hummingbirds Have?

Most hummingbird species are capable of raising multiple broods in a single breeding season. Here are some general guidelines:

  • In northern areas, hummingbirds may raise just a single brood.
  • In more moderate climates, two broods is common.
  • In the southernmost areas like Florida and Texas, three broods may be raised.
  • A few hummingbird species like Anna’s can produce up to four broods.
  • Each additional brood is started about 2-3 weeks after the previous fledges.

The number of potential broods depends on the length of the suitable breeding season. The earlier nesting starts, the more repeat broods are possible further into summer.

How Far Apart Are a Hummingbird’s Eggs Laid?

Hummingbirds lay two eggs per clutch. The eggs are usually laid 1-2 days apart. Rarely, a female may lay just a single egg.

Once the first egg is laid, incubation doesn’t start right away. Full incubation begins only after the second egg is laid. This synchronization helps ensure both chicks hatch around the same time.

After a clutch is laid, the female will not produce more eggs until those chicks have fledged from the nest. Additional egg laying happens with subsequent clutches.

How Long Does a Hummingbird Sit on Eggs?

The female hummingbird alone incubates the eggs. She sits tightly on the nest, providing warmth for the developing chicks inside the eggs. Here are some incubation facts:

  • Full incubation starts after the second egg is laid, lasting 12 to 16 days.
  • The female leaves the nest for only brief periods of 5-15 minutes to forage.
  • Males do not participate in incubating eggs.
  • The average incubation period is 14-15 days.
  • Warmer ambient temperatures may shorten incubation slightly.
  • Cool weather can lengthen the incubation period.

Throughout incubation, the female needs to consume extra calories to meet the high energy demands of breeding. She drinks nectar continuously over the 2+ weeks to stay nourished.


Hummingbirds have a well-defined breeding and nesting season that centers around egg laying by the females. This season lasts from February through July in most of the United States, varying by species and region. Females may lay up to four clutches of two eggs each, with incubation lasting 2-2.5 weeks for each clutch. Understanding the hummingbird reproductive cycle helps people support these special birds during the energetically demanding nesting period.

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