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Mama hummingbird still feeds her baby after it leaves the nest

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 at 5:48 am in hummingbirds.

Mama hummer feeding a teenage chick. Photo by Carol Pool, Livermore, CA
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Gary:
My baby hummingbirds have left the nest.  They hung out in my butterfly bushes for a couple of days.  Mama is still feeding them.
Carol Pool, Livermore, California

Carol:
After the baby hummingbirds leave the nest, they usually stick around with mama hummingbird for a week or so to give her a chance to teach them how to survive in your backyard. There’s a lot of stuff for a teenage hummingbird to learn … how to catch insects, which flowers are the best ones to obtain nectar from (although a lot of that comes with instinct), and, of course, how to use a hummingbird feeder.

Note the long bill on the young hummer that’s being fed by its mama in your photo above. It’s hard to feed a baby bird with a looong beak (kind of like fencing with foils). When baby hummers hatch, their beaks are short, like other birds. That’s to make it easier for mama to feed them (Mother Nature knows what she’s doing!). As the youngsters grow, their beaks also grow and get longer, until when they leave the nest, they have long “hummingbird” beaks so they can probe deep into flowers to get to the nectar. Neat little birds, aren’t they? /Gary

Hummer chicks ready to leave the nest. Photo by Carol Pool, Livermore, CA
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